Musicians on a Mission support local nonprofits

All-volunteer group to perform Sept. 25 in Allenhurst


 Local musicians team with Musicians on a Mission to support local nonprofits. Above: Lightning Jar performs at The Saint in Asbury Park. Local musicians team with Musicians on a Mission to support local nonprofits. Above: Lightning Jar performs at The Saint in Asbury Park. Cathy Noblick and her daughter, Jenny Woods, have always had the desire to give back to the community but were missing the key ingredient to successfully execute their goal: the music.

In November 2010 they created Musicians on a Mission (MOAM) and have raised more than $3,000 for eight local charities.

On Sept. 25 from 5 to 9 p.m., their ninth event at Mr. C’s Beach Bistro in Allenhurst will benefit the New Jersey Friends of Clearwater and feature local band Random Test and tropical-rock artistGary Phillips.

“People connect through music in many ways: the spirit of being there together, listening to the music and how it touches people, and how they share those emotions with each other,” said Woods, a singer-songwriter.

Prior to MOAM, she had lived in Asheville, N.C., for a few years. Upon return to her native Garden State, she found herself without any close ties or connections.

 Bobby Donorio and John Cavallo jam at Asbury Blues in support of Musicians on a Mission. Bobby Donorio and John Cavallo jam at Asbury Blues in support of Musicians on a Mission. “When I got here, I didn’t know anybody. The friends that I used to have all moved away,” she said. “I started going to open mics, and that’s where I met a lot of musicians.”

She didn’t realize how tight-knit the community of musicians was until she began performing with them in various gigs.

“Coming back here and getting into this Mecca of music was just thrilling for me, and I’m grateful to be surrounded by these people and all this giving. To be able to do the charity and the music at the same time is just a fantastic thing,” said Woods.

MOAM events have benefited local nonprofits, including the Asbury ParkMusicalHeritage Foundation, Family Promise, the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties and Coastal Habitat for Humanity. They have also assisted homeless veterans throughout Monmouth County.

As many as 150 people have attended a single event donating as much as $800 in a single night, said Woods.

Noblick, a Shrewsbury therapist, believes that giving and volunteering are good for mental health. It’s a win for everybody involved, she said.

“Musicians always want to play, charities are always looking for financial support and people always want to do some good while having some fun. It just seemed like the perfect fit,” Noblick said.

There are all sorts of connections being made thanks to the organization, all held together through a common musical thread. “When people are listening or playing music together, that itself creates a connection between human beings. People are clapping together, dancing together, moving together and responding to the music together,” said Noblick.

All of the events MOAM has hosted have a theme. September’s event honors the beach and promotes awareness of clean water. Phillips was a perfect fit with his trop-rock music.

“Trop-rock is a mixture of a lot of different types of music, obviously tropical, rock ’n’ roll, southern rock,” he said of the relatively new genre.

“It’s all about that easy, laid-back feeling, sitting by the beach, the sun and the sand and just easy times.”

Woods commented on how historically rich theMonmouth County area is in music, serving as a melting pot of genres.

“I have heard some of the best rockabilly country down to the greatest singer-songwriters. There are serious, amazing, heart-wrenching songs from amazing, brilliant people; from rock ’n’ roll, straight-up blues to old-school jazz. You can really run the gamut in this area,” said Woods.

All of the musicians that perform for MOAM volunteer their time and talent, with 100 percent of the proceeds donated to the selected charity, said Woods.

Typically, admission is a $10 donation at the door of the venues, which have included tea houses, coffee houses, bars and restaurants.

Performances have taken place at The Wonder Bar and The Saint in historic Asbury Park, while others have been standing room only at Red Bank’s Novel Teas or at Cake Bake & Roll in Long Branch’s Pier Village.

Phillips said he enjoys the intimate venues, which allow him to interact and talk to many of the people who come out in support.

“There’s a lot of satisfaction to see the faces of the people you’re performing for. There’s always interaction, and if there wasn’t, if you’re not interacting with the people who come out to see you, then you shouldn’t be doing it.

“That’s what makes it what it is. To get up there and just sing, you know, I can do that in my living room.”

Woods was only 13 years old when she began writing songs and picked up her first guitar at age 18.

“It’s the one major thing that brings me the most joy in my life: playing and singing,” she said. “If you’re a musician, that’s what you do to keep yourself happy.”

On Oct. 9, 5-9 p.m., MOAM will host the first “Women of Song” event in conjunction with Rosie’s Café at Atonement Lutheran Church in Asbury Park. The event will benefit 180 Turning Lives Around, a Monmouth County nonprofit dedicated to ending domestic and sexual violence.

According to the website, the inaugural event is “a coalition and celebration of female singers, songwriters, artists and poets dedicated to raising awareness of women’s issues.”

For more information, visit MOAM online at