'Strings for Food' program benefits food banks

November 9, 2012 9:56:03 AM

Jan Swoope - [email protected]


Guitars and green beans are seldom thought of in tandem, but at least one Golden Triangle music shop hopes to be overrun this weekend with the healthy vegetable -- and many more non-perishable food items. 


Owners and staff at Backstage Music in Starkville want to collect at least a half-ton of donated food on Saturday between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. to boost food bank inventories in time for the holidays. To encourage area guitarists to help reach the goal, the shop proposes something in return. 


"The offer on our end is pretty simple," said Backstage co-owner Allen McBroom Thursday. "Bring us any six-string guitar, and we'll restring it in exchange for five non-perishable food items." 


This is the second year the shop has participated in "Strings for Food," a nationwide cooperative effort by independent music stores that want to give back to their communities. The event is always held in November, before Thanksgiving, when food banks receive increased requests for aid. 


Last November, Backstage staff and volunteer musicians restrung 53 guitars and collected more than 600 pounds of food for distribution to Starkville food pantries. 


"Our goal this year is 1,000 pounds, so we really need some guitars to restring," McBroom said, smiling. 


Area musicians volunteering their time and expertise Saturday to help install strings include Grant Beatty, John Brocato, Todd Carlisle, Bill Cooke, Bruce "Bird" Crain, Stephanie Jackson, Joe Jordan, Johnny Laird, J. Dee McKay and Jeffrey Rupp. They will join the experienced staff, who will be on site in full force for the cause. 


"To have local guitar players give their time is such a good thing," store co-owner Jim Beaty said. "We really try to make this a community event." 


In exchange for food items, Backstage will remove old guitar strings, clean the fretboard, install new, name-brand strings (usually D'Addario or Curt Mangan strings), and tune each guitar to standard tuning. The service normally runs $20 to $25.  


"It's a neat thing for us to be able to do something to give back to the community, especially in a way we're so familiar with, like working on guitars," Beaty said. "We're really trying to help our community, so we ask for a minimum of five food items, please. However, there's no maximum." 


Backstage Music is located at 115 Highway 12 W. in Starkville. For more information, go to backstagemusic.com, or contact the staff at 662-323-3824. To learn more about "Strings for Food," visit stringsforfood.org.

Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.