The sounds of New Orleans filled the neighborhoods surrounding Pebble Hill as a native New Orleans jazz musician played into the night as part of the Food Bank of East Alabama’s canned food fundraiser.
Guests entered the event one-by-one with the admission fee of a single donation of a non-perishable food item in support of the Food Bank of East Alabama and specifically the Beat Bama Food Drive.
Jazz musician Glenn David Andrews played the entertainment for the event as he shared the traditional sounds of New Orleans. The New Orleans native is a celebrated trombonist, vocalist and stage man who was in contact with a local Auburn community member who aided in putting the event together.
Willi Cox, a member of the Auburn community, said he and Andrews live across the bayou from one another in New Orleans.
“I’ve known him and his manager for a long time, everybody in New Orleans knows everybody, it’s a small town feel so I was lucky enough to get him to come up here for this,” Cox said.
Cox said he tries to bring something to Auburn every year. After attending the World’s Fair in New Orleans in 1984, Cox said he was never the same again. This is part of Cox’s reasoning for bringing this entertainment to Auburn.
“It’ll do it to you,” Cox said. “It got me, you see this out in the street walking down the street on a Sunday afternoon, this is what you see, this is what you do on a Sunday afternoon in New Orleans.”
In addition to the music, the event offered free refreshments including gumbo as encouragement for people to come out and join.
“We just want people to come and enjoy and if we can do something that benefits the food bank in the process, the more the merrier,” said College of Liberal Arts Events Coordinator at Pebble Hill Brianna Foster.
Approximately 150 people attended the sold-out event Wednesday evening. While ticketholders were guaranteed admission, those without tickets were not turned away at the entrance.
“We were welcoming more people that didn’t quite get tickets so we did want to open it up to as many people as possible,” Foster said. “[There] is a good mix of ticketholders and the people who didn’t have tickets.”
Due to the success of the event and the college’s attempts to bring more concerts to the Auburn area, Foster said while there have been no finalizations, there is a possibility for making it a series.
“Anything that we can do to keep benefitting the Food Bank of East Alabama would be just helpful for the community,” Foster said.
A representative from the Food Bank of East Alabama was also present at the evening’s event.
“When we were approached about being part of the concert here tonight, we were very excited,” said Michelle Held, programs and volunteer coordinator at the Food Bank of East Alabama. “Our community comes around us when things are going on and supports us.”
Held said the food bank is thankful for the support they received through this event as well as the volunteering and donations of canned foods.
Held said one in five people are food insecure and realizes that heading into holiday season there are a number of empty cupboards and pantries.
“We hope in the seven counties in East Alabama that we serve we hope to change those numbers as much as we can,” Held said. “We cannot do that without the support of our community and the surrounding areas.”