Downtown finance workers play music for charity
On Wednesday, September 18, five bands gathered at the Cutting Room to help raise money for Wall Street Rocks, a nonprofit that raises money for various charities that support veterans and first responders.
Big Dog Party, The Holiday Electric, Your Mom Mona, Mayday, and Mud, Blood and Beer were among the bands that traded in their briefcases for guitar cases, and special performances were given by award-winning songwriter Joe Brucato and former U.S. Coastguard of 22 years Kristine Rommel, who now works at Morgan Stanley at One New York Plaza.
"Working on Wall Street, you know that everyone makes a good salary, so it's nice to see everyone giving back," she said.
Leslie Kirby, co-founder of WSR, has lived downtown for over twenty-five years, and was inspired to start the organization after watching numerous friends who lost everything find help and solace from charities like Operation Finally Home, ReserveAid, Project Hospitality, The Wounded Warrior Project, and the Salvation Army.
"It's especially important for us to see where our support is going," said the event's other co-founder, James Macedonio, who went on to share a story that personally touched his heart.
"We knew a young man who came back from Iran and his home was foreclosed, so he had to start from scratch. He had a family and everything. Operation Finally Home picked him up and built him a home tax free, no strings attached," he said.
All of the bands playing that night had a connection to the cause as well - everyone knew a veteran or a first responder who has struggled. On Wednesday, they enjoyed playing for a slightly different demographic than they're used to.
"The crowd here is definitely different. You've got music mixing with finance, but everyone wants to have a good time and leave politics at the door," said Paul Accardi of The Holiday Electric. He and his band mates Don Henry and Chris Woods all work at finance firms (the names of which they would not disclose) and sent in their audition tape shortly after Accardi caught wind of what the organization was doing.
Among the Wall Street crowd rocking out in the audience were some of the events official sponsors, like IT Services Provider FDM Group, which hires and trains military veterans in various aspects of internet technology, cost-free, and places them on-site to work with their clients.
"I've seen firsthand how tough it can be out there. My cousin was out of a job for two years after he got back from the military," said Luis Amaro, 31, Senior Account Executive at FDM.
He continued, "I've seen a couple of guys we work with up there on stage before. They can wear a suit and tie all they want, but I know they play a mean set of drums."
So, keep your eyes peeled, cause the next Wall Street star could be sitting in a cubicle near you.
To audition for Wall Street Rocks, visit www.wallstreetrocks.org.