By Zirrus VanDevere, for the Redoubt Reporter
The Soup Supper dinner and auction fundraiser that the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank holds each year takes a lot of local support and volunteer hours, and I’m sure their recent event Saturday was well-attended and yielded critical funds to serve the hungry in our area. Interestingly, there were two other community events that occurred the same night, different in their style and content, but evidencing the same spirit of joy and giving Kenai Peninsula inhabitants have the capacity to share.
Tammy Reeve is a Kasilof resident who is in the midst of battling cancer, shuttling back and forth for chemotherapy treatments while continuing to work for Hope Community Resources, a nonprofit organization geared to help people with disabilities. Reeve is a staunch advocate for the downtrodden and in need, and has taken on her fight against cancer with the gusto and courage with which she generally defends her clients.
The local Lions Club and Kenai Elks Club joined efforts to put on a dinner and auction fundraiser for Reeve, along with many of Reeve’s dear friends and co-workers. Numerous donations from local businesses and individuals filled the silent auction tables at the Elks Lodge in Kenai, and the musical entertainment was a rare treat indeed.
Michael Morgan, back on a swift sojourn, was able to join band members Matt Boyle, Kurt Eriksson and Joe Tromblee, and so The Baked Alaskans and Their Spawn filled the night with rocking tunes. Their Spawn refers to the talented offspring of the band members, which included Anton Eriksson on guitar and sax, Logan Boyle on tuba (yes, he totally rocked that thing out), and Austin Eriksson on keyboards. The apples are not falling far from these trees, to our great benefit.
Each of Reeve’s daughters spoke at the event, and the degree of maturity, humor, ability to communicate complex emotional
states and pure compassion was evident in their writing, inspiring and heart rendering. More apples from more strongly rooted and magnificent trees to fall from, and more reasons to be proud of the community in which we live.
The other, also very well-attended event that evening was pure celebration. A first-time CD release party for the local band 907 was held at Kenai Joe’s for another popular smoke-free night. It was a packed and dynamic house, with a full dance floor and an outside beer garden area roped off for added space. Kenai Joe’s is situated right along the bluff on the edge of Old Town Kenai, and you can easily smell the salmon and the sea that help to describe and sometimes define us.
The band members were feeling the love from the crowd, and gave it back with pure enthusiasm. Often there were big smiles, especially from lead singers and songwriters Brandon Pilatti and Robb Justice, and I couldn’t help but feel the symbiosis was similar to the fundraising events occurring elsewhere that night, both in character and depth. People were obviously there to enjoy a fun night out, but even more so to support a band we’ve watched get tighter and more accomplished with every performance.
Other 907 band members are Travis Barnes, who also writes and sings original songs, Casey McKinnon, Scot Q. Merry on bass and Garret James Mayer, primarily on keyboard. The CD, “Songs From Kenai Joe’s,” is lively, heartfelt and decidedly hometown.
We are good to each other here, in these various towns we call a community, and we should be proud of where we live, and who we live here with.
Zirrus VanDevere is a local mixed-media artist and the exhibits and cultural coordinator at the Kenai Visitors and Cultural Center. She has bachelor’s degrees in fine arts and education.