The Sixth Annual Concert to Feed the Hungry
A Jazz Benefit for Buddhist Global Relief

On June 17, 2017 at 7 pm, Buddhist Global Relief will present the 6th annual Concert to Feed the Hungry, to be held at Middle Collegiate Church in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Benefiting from New York’s rich cultural tapestry, the concert features a particularly diverse program of renowned artists. Grammy-winning pianist and composer Arturo O’Farrill will perform a solo set drawing from a rich legacy of Afro-Cuban, jazz and avant-garde influences. New York’s premier Moroccan traditional ensemble Innov Gnawa will perform selections from a deep spiritual tradition that presents a clear vision of the ancient groove of North Africa. Slavic Soul Party conjures up a compelling mix of Balkan, Roma (Gypsy), soul and jazz influences that has made them one of New York’s most beloved brass bands. The jazz saxophonist Dave Liebman was recently designated a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts, both for his work with Miles Davis and Elvin Jones as well as for his own prolific genre-bending work going back to the 1970s. The concert will also feature emerging jazz vocalist Arta Jekabsone, the recent winner of the 2016 Montreaux Jazz Vocal competition, who will join us via our developing partnership with The New School’s School of Jazz.

Funds raised from the concert will go to support BGR’s many projects that combat hunger worldwide, in regions ranging from Cambodia, India, and Bangladesh to Ethiopia and Cameroon to New York and Detroit. These projects not only provide direct food aid to people afflicted by poverty and disaster, but help farmers develop ecologically sustainable methods of food production, promote the education of poor girls, and give women the chance to earn more to support their families. Here in the US, BGR funds the development of urban and home gardens in communities with limited access to nutritious foods. To learn more, visit BGR’s website, and to discover more volunteer opportunities, please visit Compassion NYC.

Over the last few months it has become increasingly common to hear about “walls” and “bridges.” Thanks to the work of Buddhist Global Relief and our compassionate artists, the Concert to Feed the Hungry puts forward a vision that looks beyond the narrow identities of culture and ethnicity toward a more peaceful world that can be enjoyed by all. To the extent that musicians can connect in performance to this aspiration for a better world, music intersects with the spiritual development of a compassionate heart that is intrinsic to our shared humanity. This is perhaps one way of understanding the legendary saxophonist John Coltrane’s description of music as “the spiritual expression of what I am: my faith, my knowledge, my being.”

The Concert to Feed the Hungry aims to provide a first-rate concert experience to the most diverse audience possible. To this end, we are offering a sliding scale general admission ticket price ranging from $50 to a $15 student ticket. We are also offering the public an opportunity to donate tickets to students and other community members who would otherwise find it hard to donate on their own toward a ticket. Proceeds from the concert will benefit the many wonderful projects sponsored by BGR, as well as a weekly soup kitchen run by Middle Church.

It is no accident that musicians often gravitate toward social justice causes in their work. Making music is indeed a bridge to compassionate action, something we hope to inspire on June 17 with this most exciting and international program of award winning, internationally renowned artists!

Dan Blake, a jazz saxophonist and BGR board member, has produced the Concert to Feed the Hungry since its inception in 2011.