by Jo Miller
Seventeen million women lived in poverty last year in the United States and the number is increasing, according to help4women.org, the website of a local non-profit, Transitions.
Several local female musicians will be hosting a benefit concert for Transitions on Tuesday, Nov. 15 from 7-9 p.m. at the Bing Crosby Theater. The event, called Women Transitioning Women, will raise awareness and money for homeless and struggling women and children in the community.
Transitions is an organization in Spokane that works to progress women from homelessness toward self-sufficiency. The organization has five programs, including supportive housing and the New Leaf Bakery-Café where low-income women receive education and hands-on work experience.
“It’s really important to have organizations like Transitions in any community,” said Liz Rognes, a musician performing at the benefit concert.
The benefit concert will be held during National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. Kari Marguerite, the event coordinator and a performing musician, said her hope for the concert is to raise awareness of how pervasive the problem of homelessness and poverty is, and about the population Transitions serves.
“It’s easy to go about our lives and not see that,” Marguerite said. “Homeless women are invisible out there.”
Rognes said the goal of the benefit is to raise funds, but it’s also about raising awareness. Women in the community depend on Transitions for various kinds of help and amidst the busyness of the holidays, people can forget there are people are in need, Rognes said.
First-hand stories from women in Transitions who have experienced homelessness will be heard at the concert along with featured six singer/songwriter groups of local female artists.
The Spokane Babes of Music is the group hosting the event. It’s a support group made up of more than 50 local female musicians who bear together and support local women in music. Marguerite spearheaded the group, modeled after similar groups across the country.
For Marguerite, the choice to host a benefit for Transitions was obvious because Transitions supports the women in the community. Rognes is also part of the Spokane Babes of music, and said i
t has been a really important part of her time as a musician in Spokane.
“As women artists we have the capacity and the responsibility to be advocates for underprivileged women and women in need in our community, which is why I’m excited to participate in the benefit for Transitions,” Rognes said.
The Spokane Babes of Music also support its own cause by being an advocate for female musicians. Marguerite said as a woman performer it feels like it’s a man’s world, and we as women are a little fewer and farther between.
“Kari has been a big advocate for women musicians in Spokane, which is incredibly important because as female musicians in a largely male-dominated industry, we need to support each other,” Rognes said.
Marguerite said the concert will be a great opportunity to see who these women musicians are and to listen to their music. Instead of simply preaching about the cause of homeless and struggling women, attendees will get to hear the musical art of some of the most remarkable women in town, Marguerite said.
The line-up features several genres including folk, indie, acoustic, alternative rock, pop and jazz. Marguerite’s group is called Kari Marguerite and the 76, and plays jazz-based soul and pop. Rognes said her music is folk acoustic with an eclectic sound. She said she expects her performance at the benefit to be mostly alt. country.
Other performers include Stephanie Hatzinikolis, Jesi B and The All Rites, and The Perennials, a folk indie rock band fronted by the duet Pete and Amanda Wells.
Tickets for the benefit concert are a suggested $10 donation and are available at ticketswest.com. Tickets are also available with a personalized donation at 4,000 Holes’ record store and at the event’s Just Give website.
“It’s going to be a fabulous show for a fabulous cause,” Marguerite said.