North Shore United Way Celebrates New Education Programs with Live Music

Sweet Potato Zydeco Band gets North Shore United Way supporters dancing to their upbeat guitar, accordion and washboard tunes

Congratulations to Handsome Dave & the Ravens, whose blues-inspired rock captured the “Judges’ Choice” award at the North Shore United Way’s Battle of the Bands on September 20th at SPACE in Evanston. More than 125 audience members were treated to sounds ranging from the Creole-style dance music of Sweet Potato Zydeco Band to classic tunes from The BASEMENT Band to hard rock of The Nuisance. Handsome Dave & the Ravens band members Dave Nowak, Mike Szymanski, and Tom McGarry won two hours of studio recording time at Phase Recording Studio. The winning prize was donated and presented by guest judge Matt Fedderman, music producer at Phase Recording Studios. DeXter, the night’s opening music group with a more ethereal touch, took home “Audience Favorite” honors. Guest judge Dave Specter, acclaimed Chicago blues musician and owner of SPACE, presented the Audience Favorite award and donated the category prize: a DVD recording of the evening’s live performance. This was the first Battle of the Bands event hosted by the North Shore United Way. The musical evening raised more than $4,000 through tickets, t-shirt sales and a silent auction. All proceeds will support United Way programs on the North Shore. Silent auction items were contributed by ABC7, The Guitar Works in Evanston and the Old Town School of Folk Music. The event was generously sponsored by BMO Harris Bank. The evening celebrated the new Education Initiative as part of LIVE UNITED 2020. LIVE UNITED 2020 is United Way’s 10-year vision, focusing resources on health, education and income programs in the North Shore’s communities of greatest need. Tom McGarry of Handsome Dave & the Ravens won the event’s MVP title for his versatility between bass and harmonica. Guest judge Dan Sloan, music director and DJ for the Rock Show on Northwestern University’s WNUR, awarded McGarry with a $150 gift certificate for repairs repairs and guitar set-up from Third Coast Guitar. Master of ceremonies, Ravi Baichwal of ABC7 News Chicago kept the audience lively between sets while highlighting the United Way’s commitment to the North Shore. Posted on behalf of Mary Teeter, Development Manager at North Shore United Way.

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