Music for the dog days of summer

This weekend's music festival raises money for arthritis sufferers

Posted: Thursday, August 16, 2001

The lazy days of summer and the Arthritis Foundation's coffers will get a musical boost this weekend.

Local performers Michael Truax, Rainee Godwin, Buddy Tabor, River of Life, Don Drew, Leif Saya, J. Althea and Cariba will perform at the Dog Days Music Festival at 7 p.m. Saturday at Northern Light Church. A silent pastry auction also will take place, and food will be available for purchase.

The event is a fund-raiser for the Alaska and Washington chapter of the Arthritis Foundation.

"I thought if there were some musicians in town who'd like to volunteer their considerable talents for a good cause ... this would probably get a few people to come in and listen," said co-organizer Marie "Marlene" Lauri with a laugh. "They were all nice enough to say yes the first time I asked them."

The idea of doing work for a good cause drew pianist J. Althea to the concert. She'll be performing "a little 15-minute ragtime set," she said.

Althea said the festival was "a wonderful way of tapping people's desire to ... donate."

Lauri has a personal stake in the foundation's work. Her father, mother and brother all suffer from arthritis.

"My father had rheumatoid arthritis," Lauri said. "(It was) very painful but he kept doing whatever he had to do. He was a baker so he baked his bread and his fingers were very swollen. He suffered a lot."

Lauri herself doesn't suffer from arthritis, but predicts that she might in the future.

"It's something that I'm thinking I probably will have, and I'd like to have some information to see if I can avoid the pain or know how to deal with (it)," she said.

The Dog Days Festival is one of two fund-raising efforts she'll be involved with this year. On Dec. 9, Lauri and co-organizer Kim Shea will participate in the Honolulu Marathon in Hawaii through the Arthritis Foundation's Joints in Motion program. They'll walk 26.2 miles to raise money for the Alaska and Washington chapter.

"I think everybody should be challenged once in a while," Lauri said. "We could all make a little bit of a difference. It's so much fun to see all of us come together."

She planned the Dog Days event in the spirit of another, traditional Juneau gathering - the Alaska Folk Festival. Lauri has been attending since 1994. Many of the acts playing Saturday are among her favorites from the Folk Festival.

"I've heard them and enjoyed them all and everybody else has (too), so I thought I'd call some of my favorites and see if they were in town," Lauri said. "They all were."

Greg Lindsay, a guitar player with the River of Life band, said he and his fellow musicians were drawn by the opportunity to do what they love best.

"Marlene called us and asked us if we would be part of it and since we like to play so much we said we'd love to," Lindsay said. They'll perform "about 20 minutes worth of bluegrass and bluegrass gospel music."

The festival begins informally at 6 p.m. with fiddle music from Saya, who will play as people take their seats. Althea will kick off the concert proper at 7 p.m. There will be one intermission.

"I'm getting ideas from all these others that have participated in these kinds of fundraisers," Lauri said. "Thank goodness I don't have to think of this all by myself."

Shea is handling the pastry auction and food sales. Desserts, including pastries and a cherry-chocolate cake, will be placed on a table next to a sheet of paper. Interested parties can stop by throughout the night to place or up their bids, and the winners will be announced before the last act.

Lauri thinks any money raised will help those in need.

"There's so much research going on and so many good programs," she said. "Definitely this money will be for that, and that's important. Whatever can make people live a better life despite what they're afflicted with is wonderful."

Genevieve Gagne-Hawes can be reached at

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