By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News
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As might already be plain, this event called Men with Guitars is not the usual fundraiser. It's a benefit for the Mujeres de Maiz (Women of Corn, in Spanish) Opportunity Foundation, a Sequim-based nonprofit seeking to help girls and women in rural Mexico go to high school and college.
Cycle of giving back
Judith Pasco cofounded the organization seven years ago, and has since worked with other women in Sequim and Port Angeles to raise scholarship money for students in Chiapas, Mexico's southernmost state. These students, including teenagers and 20-somethings, have over the years shared their educations, by running classes and other programs in their own communities.
Then came Steve Gilchrist, owner of Landscapes Northwest in Sequim.
He traveled to Chiapas on one of Pasco's group trips, and visited the students' home villages. He later joined the board of the Mujeres de Maiz Opportunity Foundation and helped dream up a new fundraiser.
Men with Guitars was born in 2012, with Gilchrist and a lineup of local musicians who likewise believe in equal access to education.
They include guitarists from across the musical map: country-bluegrass players Cort Armstrong and Jim Faddis, rock 'n' roller Steve Koehler, folk singers Ron Munro and Noel Price. Gilchrist and his 24-year-old son Forrest joined the group, bringing some vintage pop music into the mix. These Men with Guitars are back, plus one: Larry Bauer, a guitar player who also has served as an open-mic host in Port Angeles.
Starting at 7 p.m. Saturday at Olympic Theatre Arts, 414 N. Sequim Ave., the men will stir up music from the 1960s and '70s, from Motown and the Beatles to folk songs and soul.
Admission is $15 and beer and wine will be available, with proceeds to benefit Mujeres de Maiz. More information can be found at www.MujeresdeMaizOF.org.
These songs aren't carved in stone, but the guitarists have strongly hinted at what they want to play: “Shower the People” and “When I'm 64” from Price and Munro, “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” from Koehler, “Lodi” and “The Last Thing on My Mind” from Faddis and Armstrong. The Gilchrists will offer “Get Together,” and the finale will do just that: bring the men together for a rendition of “Knockin' on Heaven's Door.”
Last year, at the inaugural Men with Guitars, the whole group did “The Weight,” and that turned out well, judging from the audience's response. For “Knockin,'” each man will write a new verse; “God only knows how that's going to turn out,” said Faddis.
At this year's concert, Pasco and other Mujeres de Maiz representatives will be on hand to answer questions about the organization, Chiapas and other Mujeres activities on the North Olympic Peninsula.
Pasco also will have for sale copies of her new book, Somewhere for My Soul to Go: A Place, a Cause, a Legacy.
Most of all, this party is about music and community, she and the guitarists agree.
“Last year, 'Men with Guitars' rocked the house. People had a great time,” said Pasco.
“Come hear local musicians and music from the '60s and '70s, have a glass of wine and support a great cause.”