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Concert raises money for LI Sandy victims

(L-R) Shilpa McCarthy with son Devan, 7, of

(L-R) Shilpa McCarthy with son Devan, 7, of Dix Hills, Ronnie Todlaro with daughter, Allie, 6, of Centerport, and Glen Saunders with son Aidan, 6, of Huntington dance to the music of Patricia Shih at the Congregational Church of Huntington in Centerport. (Nov. 24, 2012) Credit: Steve Pfost

Musicians from across the region joined together Saturday night in Centerport to raise money and collect basic necessities for Long Islanders struggling to recover from the devastation of superstorm Sandy.

The benefit concert at Congregational Church of Huntington featured a host of artists, including folk singer Tom Chapin. They put on two shows -- one for families, another for adults.

"It's important to lift people's spirits and give them a sense of community," said Patricia Shih of Huntington, a singer and musician who organized the show.

More than $6,000 in cash donations went to the Red Cross, and household supplies were picked up by Long Island Cares, a food bank founded in 1980 by Chapin's late brother Harry, a recording artist who died 31 years ago in a crash on the Long Island Expressway.

"My family has strong ties to Long Island," Tom Chapin said as he prepared for the first set. "This is about creating some positive spirits and reminding people that we will survive."

Dozens of people poured into the church before the 5 p.m. family show, some carrying cans of food, jugs of water and bags of clothing. Rolls of paper towels, diapers and detergent were among the items stacked near the door.

"We were just looking for a place to contribute," said Marion Belmonte of Hauppauge, who came with three girlfriends. They brought bags of cleaning supplies.

Centerport resident Laura Gerde said many of her friends and family went days without power and lost their homes and vehicles. "At a time like this, it's important to give back to the community," said Gerde, who came to the concert with her husband, Eric, and their 3-year-old twins Alec and Brynn.

For John Bertles, one of the founders of Bash the Trash, a band that uses everyday items to create music, last night's goal was to give the public a respite from the recovery. "These people need a lot of support," he said. "So we come together with the best we can offer."

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