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Jazz and a Helping Hand! Flathead Beacon artile

Manhattan Jazz Night Out at Crush to support the Abbie Shelter

Clockwise from left to right: Don Caverly, Erica von Kleist, Miles Fortenberry and Richie Barshay. – Courtesy photos
By Molly Priddy, 01-03-13
Two for one is always an enticing deal, especially when the only string attached is that the money spent will help those who desperately need it.On Jan. 5, there will be ample opportunity to score such a deal. A fundraiser for the the Abbie Shelter – a vital resource in the Flathead community – offers supporters a chance to know they’re helping while also listening to a jazz experience featuring nationally renowned talent.

The Manhattan Jazz Night Out evening of music will take place at Crush Wine Bar at 8 p.m., and will feature musicians Erica von Kleist, Miles Fortenberry, Richie Barshay and Don Caverly.

Crush is donating the space for the evening, said manager Megan Grunow, and 100 percent of the ticket sale proceeds will go to the Abbie Shelter.

The Abbie Shelter is a nonprofit safe haven for women who face domestic abuse and their children. According to the Abbie Shelter staff, who asked to remain anonymous to protect the women in their care, the shelter is open 24 hours a day and run mostly on volunteer power.

There are only a few staff members in the entire program, they said. The shelter provides food, clothes and toiletries for the women and children who stay there, because they typically head to the shelter when their abuser is either asleep or at work and show up with little-to-no possessions.

“All of those funds that we would raise from the fundraiser would go to provide things for women at the shelter,” the staff member said.

The shelter also offers group therapy sessions for the women with a volunteer therapist, and the children are also offered opportunities to visit with a volunteer therapist. A victim’s advocate also helps the women when it comes to court issues.

The Abbie Shelter is also responsible for the Violence Free Crisis Line, which operates 24/7 to give women advice on an array of topics surrounding domestic violence, including resources in the valley, handling abuse or help getting to the shelter.

The shelter relies on contributions and fundraising events for about 60 percent of its budget, while generous grant providers account for the other 40 percent, the staff member said.

“Over Christmas we were really lucky to get donations from the community, both monetarily and actual products,” the staff member said.

The Manhattan Jazz Night Out will help bolster the shelter’s budget, offering a world-class evening of music with artists from all over the country.

Erica von Kleist is one of the most in-demand young jazz artists in New York City, offering her flute and saxophone talents to perform with Wynton Marsalis, Chris Potter, Sean Jones, and The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. She has played on Broadway and is a member of the band, “No Exceptions.”

Miles Fortenberry is a guitarist who studied at Montana State University and currently lives in the jazz capital of the world, New Orleans. He has played with the Jack Waller Quintet and boasts a considerable local following.

Percussionist Richie Barshay of New York comes to the Flathead with a wide-ranging musical resume, including live and recorded work with Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Esperanza Spalding, The Klezmatics, Fred Hersch, Kenny Werner, Lee Konitz, Natalie Merchant, David Krakauer, Fred Wesley, Claudia Acuña, Bobby McFerrin and Pete Seeger.

And most local music fans will know Don Caverly, a Whitefish bassist and fixture in the Flathead music scene. Caverly is known for his work with Big Daddy and the Blue Notes and has studied with several prominent musicians.

Tickets to Manhattan Jazz Night Out are $30 at the door. For more information on the Abbie Shelter, visit, or call 752-4735. The phone number for the Violence Free Crisis Line is 406-752-7273.