SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A young woman rebuilds her life after a stroke. Two friends start a music shop in Haiti. A daughter finds peace and fulfillment in her final days with her mother. A woman moves forward after homelessness. Each of these previously untold redemption stories involves a local non-profit organization, and each will be told in words and songs at Caffe Luna.
On November 12, these stories and more will come to life on stage as part of “TrueSongs: Lyrics of Life.” This annual event aims to break down walls within the community while shining a spotlight on the positive impact of local nonprofit organizations.
TrueSongs was created in 2019 by the Saratoga Springs music venue Caffe Lena to show how arts and social service organizations can work together to create a healthy, whole community. Now in its third year, the event will give five community members the chance to share their personal stories with a live audience. Each storyteller has been working with a songwriter who will follow the story with a compelling new song meant to bring out the emotional heart of the experience.
To find the stories, Caffe Lena reached out to local organizations that lend a helping hand to neighbors in need. The organizations involved are Gateway House of Peace, Shelters of Saratoga, the Saratoga Senior Center, Horns for Haiti, and Steps for Stroke.
“We proudly partner with schools, churches, and community centers throughout Haiti,” said Bill Cole, owner of Cole’s Woodwind Shop and founder of the non-profit Horns for Haiti. “The resilience of the Haitian people and their love of music has made it possible to implement projects during a very difficult time in this third-world country. We’re providing musical instruments and supplies to hundreds of school children and also mentoring young entrepreneurs in starting their sustainable businesses in the music industry.”
One of these young entrepreneurs, Saurel Bernier, is the subject of Horns for Haiti’s TrueSongs story, which will be told via video to the audience at Caffe Lena. Troy-based trio Hold on Honeys is creating an original song that captures Bernier’s dream of opening a business that keeps local children in Lascahobos, Haiti focused on music. Bernier says, “we supervise children and young people in order to prevent them from entering into the delinquency that our country is facing.”
The diverse pool of songwriters includes Michael Eck, Jeff Brisbin, Mel Guarino, John Dillon, and Hold on Honeys. Their job is to fashion the true story into a new song capable of breaking through stereotypes and boundaries.
For many of the storytellers, it will be the first time sharing their experience in public. For the songwriters, singing TrueSongs will open a new window of expression. “It’s incredibly empowering for someone who has been working hard to overcome their challenges to know that people care. To feel like there’s a community on their side,” said Caffe Lena Executive Director Sarah Craig. “When we hear someone’s true story, it is like building a bridge. It’s hard to imagine anything more important these days than building bridges that connect us.”
TrueSongs: Lyrics of Life will take place on Sunday, November 12 at 8 p.m. at Caffe Lena. Advance tickets sell for $20, or $10 for students. At the door, general admission tickets will go for $22, and student rush tickets will be sold to anyone with a valid ID for $5.