Live at Adaire: Andrew Lipke & John Byrne in Concert
The raucous sounds of a rock concert reverberated around a Fishtown venue on Thursday night, April 28th — a common enough event in the neighborhood. But everything else about this show was unique, starting with the venue itself: Alexander Adaire K-8 School’s auditorium.
This wasn’t your average student concert, though Adaire’s talented choir, band, and orchestra did perform at one point. The Philly Homes Girls Present & WXPN Welcomes Andrew Lipke & John Byrne in Concert FOR and AT Adaire brought a double bill of Fishtown’s professional musical talent to perform to benefit the music program at Adaire. Hundreds of supporters of the school and its budding musicians enjoyed the unique show that was emceed by WXPN’s Helen Leicht.
The benefit show was a partnership between Adaire’s Home & School Association and Friends of Adaire, but the volunteer efforts that made the night possible extended far beyond the two groups. The Friends group successfully raised $12,000 in private donations to earn a matching grant for the same amount from the Penn Treaty Special Services District, and the money enabled the group to buy a new audio/visual system for the Adaire auditorium and new stage curtains, which were installed on Tuesday.
Lighting and video for the show were donated by Expressway Grip Productions, owned by Fishtown’s Jim Madison, and East Kensington’s Jamie Giambrone of We Do Photography captured the night on her camera. Sound engineer Dave Grubb donated his time working the sound board to make the music sing. Furfari’s donated pretzels and the Art of Pizza donated pies, and Adaire parent Robert LeBrun created the posters that popped up all over town.
And the bands donated their time, too. John Byrne and his band performed a rollicking set of Byrne originals and Irish classics. Byrne offered advice for cultivating young artists in between powerful songs; the music educator lives around the corner from Adaire.
Perhaps the show’s highlight happened at the very beginning as Fishtown’s Andrew Lipke enlisted Adaire’s student musicians to accompany him on a medley that combined a Lipke original with Matsiyahu, Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry,” and The Beatles’ “Let It Be.” Lipke, a recording artist and the father of a daughter enrolling in Adaire for Kindergarten in the fall, then performed a great set with his power trio.
In between sets, winners of a raffle and silent auction full of donations from local and Philadelphia businesses and artists were announced. Proceeds will benefit the Adaire music program.