By ANGIE CARNATHAN
Starkville music store Backstage Music is holding a unique event tomorrow to collect food for needy families in the area called Strings for Food.
Tomorrow, from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., store owners, employees and a few volunteers will be on hand to clean and install free strings on any six-string guitar in exchange for a minimum of five non-perishable food items. There is no maximum to the amount of food one can donate. Co-owners of the store Allen McBroom, Jim Beaty and Tony Foster said the store participates in the event each November.
“The idea is that if a guitar owner will bring us a minimum of five non-perishable food items — food that keeps well and doesn’t have to be refrigerated, such as canned food, flour, rice, corn meal, Bisquik, etc. — we will take the old strings off their guitar, clean and oil the fretboard, polish the frets and restring with a high quality, name brand strings, such as Curt Mangan strings or D’Addario strings,” McBroom said. “We then return the guitar to the customer for no charge.”
McBroom said a customer usually spends between $20 and $25 for this quality of strings and this level of service.
Allen McBroom, Jim Beaty and Tony Foster are the owners of Backstage Music, a store that has been providing musical supplies to the Golden Triangle since 1978. McBroom said they love having the opportunity to give support back to a community that has always supported them.
“Backstage takes care of the cost of the strings and the labor, and all you need to do is bring us some food,” McBroom said. “We’ll take all of the food collected to local churches and food banks. It’s important for all of us to remember that we could be the ones in need one day.”
McBroom said Strings for Food is a food collection program promoted by independent music stores around the country for the past several years. Stores who participate in this program are all members of the Independent Music Store Owners group.
“We’re hoping, of course, that customers will give freely in the spirit of the season, to help use feed the hungry in Starkville and Oktibbeha County,” McBroom said. “One store in Florida sponsored a Strings for Food event last weekend and collected over 1,500 pounds for food for the needy. If we could do that in Starkville, it would be a real shot in the arm for our local food banks.”
The food collected will be divided up and taken to several local church food banks for distribution to the needy.
McBroom said he is thrilled to have had so much help with the event.
“Several well known local musicians have volunteered to spend their Saturday restringing guitars in order to help with the food collection effort,” McBroom said. “These are local players who are donating their time and labor to help the community.”
Some of the volunteers include Joe Jordan, Bruce “Bird” Crain, Jeffrey Rupp, John Brocato, J Dee McKay and Jerry Carnathan.
Brocato said he is more than happy to lend a hand to the event.
“Strings for Food is just a great idea, period,” Brocato said. “It entices guitarists with the awesome feeling of brand new strings, and far more importantly, it feeds people in our own community. It’s an easy but very tangible way for us to help our neighbors, which to me is an essential part of being a decent human. Jim and the people at Backstage Music have always been a class organization, and Strings for Food is just one more example of that.”
McBroom said he also wanted to thank the managers of Kroger, Piggly Wiggly and Copy Cow, who have all helped in promoting this effort to help the hungry.
For more information, call Backstage Music at 662-323-3824 or visit http://www.backstagemusic.com .