When Tim Smith and Ben Larson of local band The Effie Afton were asked if their band would play in a benefit concert to raise money to support arts programs through the Davenport Schools Foundation, they and the two other members of the group jumped at the chance.

The Effie Afton ended up being one of seven bands and three solo acts to perform Saturday at the Redstone Room at Davenport’s River Music Experience in the inaugural fundraiser started by Roberta Osmers, who publishes Local Scene Magazine on the web.

Smith, 25, and bandmate Larson, 21, met as members of the Moline Boys Choir and have been involved in music since.

Each said the music programs at high school and college made a big difference in their lives.

That’s why each said it is disturbing that many school systems are cutting arts and music programs.

“I can safely say that music saved my life,” Smith said. “It’s close to us.”

“Music and the arts are the worst things to cut, particularly at the high school level when so many students can relate to music,” Larson said. “The arts and music, that’s where education really expands, where it takes off.

“I needed it. It’s sad that kids who do need it and are good at it might not be able to get it.”

Osmers said she wanted to do something to further music education in the Quad-Cities and was looking for a music education charity to support. But there isn't one that covers the whole Quad-City area.

“So this year, the benefit is for the Davenport Schools Foundation’s Great Minds Program,” she said.

According to the Davenport Schools Foundation website, Great Minds is a curriculum-based enrichment program that enables students to experience an enhanced education by providing resources to take students to area learning centers as well as bring experts into the classroom.

For kids in music programs, for example, Great Minds gives them the chance to attend the symphony and gain experience and learn from the teachers at the River Music Experience, Osmers said.

Concerts started at 5 p.m. and lasted until 1 a.m. Admission was $5. Osmers said the RME allowed use of the Redstone Room for free. There were items for sale, a raffle, as well as a silent auction that included an acoustic-electric Washburn Guitar, which is normally a $450 guitar that was donated by AM Guitar Works in Davenport.

“This is the first of what will become an annual fundraiser,” Osmers said. And it will all be for the love of music.

Tom Zick, 49, of Davenport, the drummer for the band The Mississippi Misfits, said he was in band first in junior high school.

“Probably my biggest hobby as a kid was music,” Zick said. “My biggest influence was going to my grandmother’s house and digging into all my mother’s records. She loved Chuck Berry and Elvis.”

Music, he said, has been a big part of his life ever since.

Anthony Lloyd, 28, the bass player for The Effie Afton and the lead guitarist and vocalist for the band KAB, has been around music his whole life.

“Both my parents have been very supportive of music,” Lloyd said. “My mom played the piano at our church. That kind of started it for me.”

He plays guitar, but Lloyd said he wanted to learn to play the violin.

“I have a brother, Elijah, who’s in the marching band at Rocky," Lloyd said. "He’s a drummer. I can’t imagine that program not having the money for a band in which he can play.”

Osmers said Saturday that the planning for next year’s fundraiser “will begin tomorrow. It’s a big project.”

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