STANDING TOGETHER CONTINUES AS A FUND-RAISING BUSINESS-ARTIST COALITION
Six years ago, in late 2002, local musicians Phil Biggs and Michael Crittenden joined together and started a partnership that they called Standing Together. Standing Together was the brainchild of Biggs, who first became interested in helping local schools when he served on a public schools task force of local business and community leaders formed in 1999.
“I was trying to think of innovative ways to raise money for after-school programs and much-needed classroom materials to make up for the lack of state funding,” says Biggs. “It occurred to me that creating a compilation CD using the good local musical talent we have here in West Michigan might be the answer.”
What resulted was a music CD titled Standing Together, created in 2003 to raise money for the Grand Rapids Public Schools’ (GRPS) programs and activities. The original CD featured well-known local artists Brian Vander Ark of The Verve Pipe, singer-songwriters Ralston Bowles and Drew Nelson, and was produced by Troll for Trout frontman Crittenden. Crittenden’s brilliant musical vision has been felt from the beginning, and continues.
Since the days of the first CD and the original kickoff concert at the B.O.B in downtown Grand Rapids, Standing Together has become a recognized brand and, subsequently, two more discs were produced to support the cause. Along with the Concert for Literacy at the Forest Hills Fine Arts Center in 2005, there have been five more concerts that followed. And the artist roster grew too, including such venerable bands as Mid-Life Crisis and Hawks & Owls. All in, the coalition of artists, companies and businesspeople has raised over $80,000 in donations to the Student Advancement Foundation since 2003. Throughout, Biggs & Crittenden have maintained their community partnership in support of public schools.
Underwriters from the business community have included major contributors Wolverine World Wide, Peter Secchia Family Foundation, Meijer, Nicholas Plastics, Marsh USA, Blue Bridge Ventures, Ernst & Young, Chase Bank, Gordon Food Service, Jack Morrison, Pam & Dan DeVos, Sam Cummings, Bob & Cheri VanderWeide Foundation, Miller Canfield, Gill Industries, Rockford Companies, Dag Hascall, and Michelle Bottrall.
The Standing Together 2009 CD is set to go! It can be purchased for $10.00 at our CD Release event at the BOB in downtown Grand Rapids on Wednesday, February 11th, and thereafter will be available at area Meijer stores, Barnes & Noble, and Schuler Books & Music, as well as many West Michigan McDonald’s restaurants! The new recording has original new songs from 17 West Michigan artists, and the ST website will also have some cool downloadable content and interviews with our artists and sponsors – all to continue helping the students of GRPS through the Student Advancement Foundation and the families and children served by the Ronald McDonald House of Grand Rapids. Click here for the Standing Together Website