Local bands come together for Haiti benefit concert

Photo by Kristen Ralph

Photo by Kristen Ralph

CONYERS -- Using a mix of quick thinking, musical experience, prayer and the talent of a few local bands, Matthew Eldridge has created a compilation of music to help the earthquake victims in Haiti.

"I came up with the idea for the benefit CD when praying and asking the Lord, 'What can I give?'" Eldridge said.

The CD, titled "Helping Haiti," presented by Band Together: Conyers for a Cause, a consortium of local bands, is available for $10 and can be obtained by calling Eldridge at 770-364-3990.

Listeners can also pick up a copy of the CD (for $7) at a concert debuting the music at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Zion Baptist Church, 7037 Ga. Highway 212 in Covington. Admission to the concert is free.

"None of the artists or bands are receiving any royalties from the CD," Eldridge said. "One hundred percent of the proceeds are going to help the victims in Haiti through the organization Food For The Poor."

A nonprofit, Food For The Poor is a Christian agency which supplies food, emergency relief assistance, water, medicine, education, homes, support for orphans and the elderly, skills training and development assistance for the poor in the Caribbean and Latin America.

A Conyers resident, Eldridge is a professional musician and has led worship for several churches and events in his musical career. This isn't the first time he has helped to make a benefit CD. In 2001, his song "Never Be The Same" was released in a United Way compilation benefit CD to raise money for the 9/11 victims. Eldridge's song was one among many by well-known artists such as Peter Frampton, 7Mary3 and Chris Barron of the Spin Doctors.

For the "Helping Haiti" CD, Eldridge penned the song "What Can I Give?" in less than 20 minutes one night while he and his band, Raising Lazarus, were guests at a local youth group gathering.

"My guitar player was playing around on the guitar a few minutes before we started the service. I loved the music he was playing and the words just came out," Eldridge said.

The CD not only features Eldridge's newest song, but also 11 other local artists and bands, five of which will perform at the Saturday evening concert, including Erik Lauristen, Jeff Chandler, For Instance, Raising Lazarus and A Love Not Lost. For Instance will debut their song, "Tearing Me Down," and Lauristen will share his newest, "Storms."

Chandler, who contributed the song, "I Know You're There," a hit single on the Christian station airwaves, said making the CD allows musicians to contribute something tangible to the people of Haiti.

"The Bible says if you say to someone, 'Be warmed and filled,' and send them away empty, then you've really done nothing. But this (making of the CD) gives us a chance to pray that Haiti can be warmed and filled and also to send money," Chandler said. "Basically, we are putting our money where our mouth is."

For more information, call Matthew Eldridge at 770-364-3990 or e-mail him at meldridge@cheerful.com.