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Children's musicians come together for Sandy relief

Andrea Curran, left, one of the founders of

Andrea Curran, left, one of the founders of Camp Bulldog, stands outside the camp with Long Island native Laurie McIntosh, who has organized a digital compilation of children's music to benefit Camp Bulldog in Lindenhurst and The Action Center in Far Rockaway. Both organizations are working to help victims of superstorm Sandy. (Jan. 28, 2013) (Credit: Erin Geismar)

When Tropical Storm Irene pummeled the Catskills in 2011, Laurie McIntosh, who has lived in upstate Andes for nearly 20 years, said it was the “downstaters” who came to the rescue.

As the water receded from the streets in the low-lying communities around her, she said volunteers from New York City, Long Island and other parts of the state began arriving to help them rebuild or send much-needed resources and supplies.

“We were similarly destroyed by the storm,” said McIntosh, 43, a native Long Islander. “So many downstaters came to our aid.”

So while the people around her breathed a sigh of relief when superstorm Sandy spared them, McIntosh immediately started to think of how she could repay the favor to the place she grew up.

A storyteller and a children’s musician by profession, McIntosh reached out to other children’s musicians she knows and assembled 16 tracks from different artists into a digital compilation she named “Neighbor to Neighbor: Family Music for Sandy Relief.”

McIntosh said the compilation serves a dual purpose -- to bring joy to the children and families affected by Sandy and raise money for the relief effort. She will split the proceeds between two grassroots organizations -- Camp Bulldog in Lindenhurst and The Action Center in Far Rockaway, where McIntosh performed in early November.

“It’s called ‘neighbor to neighbor’ because that’s what it takes,” she said of the compilation. “It’s people helping people and that’s what warms your heart.”

McIntosh, whose father, Anthony Baratta, ran a family medical practice in Lindenhurst for about 50 years, is also planning to perform for students at Harding Avenue Elementary School in February.

Andrea Curran, one of the founders of Camp Bulldog, said that when McIntosh approached her with the idea, she immediately supported it.

She said at Camp Bulldog, where local people have been providing hot meals and countless resources for Sandy victims since shortly after the storm, they see many distressed adults, but children are usually left at home.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Curran said. “We don’t see the children, but they are suffering as well.”

“Neighbor to Neighbor,” which features music from Pete Seeger, Dan Zanes and other artists, is available as a $10 digital download at neighbortoneighbor.bandcamp.com, and will also be available at cdbaby.com.

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