When Utah-based rock band The Yarrow first got paid for a performance, the band quickly realized they weren’t going to be able to do much with the small amount of money they received; instead, they decided to look for a worthy organization to donate to.
“I think we got paid US$35 for our first show,” said Jeff Harris, the band’s violin and keyboardist. “We knew we could either use it to buy something fleeting like pizza, or we could try and help the community, which is what we decided to do. It’s been the best decision we’ve ever made.”
The Yarrow, after searching local and national charities, decided to team up with Community Action Services and Food Bank, an organization that provides food to needy people in three Utah counties, as well as family services such as heat and housing assistance.
“We just wanted to do something to give back to our community, because so many people here have supported our music for so long,” said Kyle Owen, bassist. “Community Action just seemed like a great fit for what we wanted to do with our money. They do so much good for so many people.”
Since teaming with Community Action, The Yarrow has received coverage from many Utah publications, including magazines, newspapers, and TV news stations, as well as an extensive interview with Los Angeles radio station KXLU. They have also received several high-profile gigs and substantial amounts of money – all of which has been donated.
However, there have been some drawbacks to being an all-for-charity rock band. The band has struggled to find finances to record an album, something they’re hoping to do with several well-known music producers who have offered to assist their cause.
One possibility for fundraising is through Pepsi, which is currently holding a contest for charities and non-profit organizations to receive US$25,000 in grants.
“This Pepsi contest could really put us over the edge,” said Mitch Mallory, lead vocalist and guitarist. “We are asking people all over the world to vote for us daily, because we have to be in the top 10 to win. We feel like we have a really worthy cause and we’re doing service in a very non-traditional way.”
The Yarrow, known for intense, thrilling, and crowd-interactive live concerts, have several accomplished musicians in the group. Jeff Harris, violinist, and Nick Dudoich, French hornist, are both classically-trained, with Dudoich holding a Bachelor’s Degree in music. The band also utilizes a wide array of instruments, including violin, French horn, clarinet, trombone, melodica, keyboards, and hand percussion along with traditional rock instruments. They say their live shows are just one of the many ways they’ve been able to promote their music, grow their fan base, and raise money and awareness for Community Action.
“We just want to help people who need it, and if rocking out can change somebody’s future, it makes the band worthwhile,” said Mallory. “We don’t know of anyone else who does this, and it’s helped so many people including us as band members. We feel like our music is serving a better cause than just ourselves.”
The Yarrow is available for corporate and private live performances and bookings. To contact them or request a free copy of their latest single, “Every Day is the Hardest, Every Night is the Longest,” visit them at www.facebook.com/theyarrow. To vote for them in the Pepsi contest, visit www.refresheverything.com/theyarrow .