Brand-new music from local singers, a cover song competition, and the chance to raise money for single moms -- Six Feet Away (a “Virtual Soiree” by the Jeremiah Project) has it all.
Thursday night, eight area musicians and groups will perform a live-streamed concert to benefit the nonprofit, which works to get single mothers into post-secondary schooling while helping their children with their own education.
Several of those performers have written brand-new music they’ll perform for the benefit, Elizabeth Dorn, the development director for Jeremiah Program in Rochester, said.
“This really came out of us trying to figure out how to be inclusive of all the community in the pandemic,” Dorn said. “We want to give folks something fun to do .. and spread awareness of what we do in town. If people can give, they can. And if they can’t, they can’t.”
The Jeremiah Program had planned to hold a barbecue competition with Amanda Grace as entertainer -- then COVID-19 hit, and those plans went on hold.
“I thought, ‘Rochester has such a great music scene,’” Dorn said. “Maybe we do something like Elton John did, and have this fundraiser with music.”
Dorn also pulled in a few further-away singers, like Ashley DuBose, a former Jeremiah Program mom who competed on season five of The Voice on NBC.
To encourage the community to get involved (and raise a little extra money), the program started a Talent-For-A-Cause competition.
Rochesterites can enter funny photos and videos in a few categories (Pet Parade, It’s a Family Affair, and The Ultimate TikTok/Dance Party are a few).
A five-dollar donation counts as one “vote” for a particularly funny entry. But it’s also possible to enter a contest without donating, so that other members can vote for their own favorites.
“We really wanted people in the community to stay positive,” Dorn said.
Entries and voting for the talent portion will remain open through June: enter and vote for your favorites here.
For the kids -- and moms
The Jeremiah Program, founded in the Twin Cities about two decades ago, supports single moms while they earn a college degree to qualify for higher-paid jobs.
Rochester’s chapter is completing construction on a campus off 19th and Valley High Drive, where families can live, access childcare, and get schooling for both generations.
Fortunately, as the building is a housing unit, work on the property continued through the COVID-19 shelter-in-place order as long as construction crews followed social distancing.
The goal is getting the moms on career tracks, teaching them leadership and interpersonal skills, and helping them receive job experience along the way, Dorn said.
“The criteria is that they’re living in poverty, and want to commit to getting a post-secondary degree and excel in the workforce,” she said. “They are really determined to make that change for their child, but many don’t have that kind of family support system.”
You can take part!
There are a few ways to directly contribute to the online party. First: all of the main stage performers have recorded cover songs on the Jeremiah Program website (click on each name under "Main Stage Performers"), and asked listeners to contribute $5 on their webpages to “vote” for the best song.
The community talent portion of the fundraiser has also been extended through June -- so if you’re sitting on a hilarious photo of your kids or pets, Tik-Tok dance video, or piece of original art, you can still throw your hat in the ring.
And finally, you can spread the word about the virtual concert online (and then watch it at 7 p.m. Thursday).
If You Go
What: Six Feet Away, a Virtual Soiree
When: 7-8 p.m. Thursday, May 28