It was, in a word, "overwhelming," according to Legislator Jay Schneiderman, one of the key organizers of a concert and telethon held to raise money for Hurricane Sandy Relief at LTV Studios in Wainscott last Saturday night.
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A musician himself, Schneiderman wanted to host a benefit concert almost immediately after news of devastation throughout the region hit the waves. He joined with Peter Israelson and Seth Redlus of LTV, plus East Hampton Town Councilman Dominick Stanzione and Julie Stone to form a core working group.
Using social media the group created the event and put up its first Facebook post on November 4, just six days before curtain time.
Schneiderman estimated some 600 people came out to see over a dozen local musical acts including (pictured on this page) Caroline Doctorow and Alfredo Merat. The lawmaker said the response to the initial posts and offers of help were extraordinary, especially from local bands and performers. "I couldn't even get everyone who wanted to go onto the stage. I must have turned away dozens of bands."
At one point Saturday night, the studio was so packed, organizers had to make supporters wait to be admitted until others left, in order to comply with occupancy regulations.
The final figures were not available at press time, but the preliminary kitty tops $34,000, thanks to a matching grant pledged by area philanthropist Andy Sabin.
The show -- which was originally planned to last two hours and stretched to almost four -- was broadcast live across the East End, thanks to assistance from Cablevision. "I don't think that's ever happened before," Schneiderman noted, "It became like Peconic TV."
Volunteers took "thousands of dollars" of pledges by phone, he reported.
With some East Enders still experiencing power outages and the aftermath of Sandy, "The community was really looking for a way to come together. You got that feeling." Schneiderman said people kept approaching him and suggesting that he host more community events like last Saturday night's. "But without the hurricane," he said.