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Helping the homeless: Madison Theatre hosts donation drive

November 22, 2015

by Kyle Pratt

With winter approaching, a musician is playing at the Madison Theatre to raise money and collect winter clothing for the homeless. Rhett Tyler, a blues guitarist, is the son of a steel mill worker who remembers seeing people living in steel huts in Ohio, and having the desire to help them.

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Rhett Tyler is a Hall of Fame blues musician that is dedicated to helping the homeless./Courtesy of John Brodersen

Originally from San Antonio, Texas, and a current resident of Albany, Tyler has lived all around the country, and has been recognized by many as a talented blues musician.

“I am a master in the blues hall of fame,” Tyler said, “but basically I play all styles of music.”

Tyler has had an interest in helping the homeless since he saw firsthand what it was like for people to live in steel huts.

“I learned very young and very early how tragic it was,” he said.

Tyler acknowledged that he has never lived the life of homelessness, but he said he gets what they’re going through.

“I understand what it means,” Tyler said, adding that he’s “just trying to help.”

The donation drive will be run by the Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of those who need it most. The show starts Friday at 7:30 p.m. at 1036 Madison Ave. when Waterloo Clyde, a local band, will open. Tickets are $15 the day of the show, and $12 if purchased in advance. The doors open at 7 p.m.

“The concert is a donation drive,” said Geoff Miller, general manager of the Madison Theatre, “The idea is people attending the show bring donations of food or clothing for the IPH.”

“We think the event is going to be a big success,” Miller said.

The Partnership hopes people going to see Tyler at the Madison will keep the homeless in mind, and bring items that are desperately needed. The group is looking for coats, hats, and blankets, which can be donated at the concert. Monetary donations are also welcome.

“Warm clothing items are essential, and usually in short supply,” said Erin Coufal, communications and events manager for the Interfaith Partnership.

The shelter also needs coffee and spices. The Partnership serves more than 50,000 meals every year, according to Coufal.

The donation drive is not that only way the theatre tries to be involved in the community, Miller said.

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Rhett Tyler will perform at the Madison Theatre this Friday/Kyle Pratt

Miller said that it was Tyler’s idea to use the concert as a way to help the homeless

“Rhett has worked with the IPH before,” Miller said, “And he was the one that suggested working with them again for this show.”

Tyler’s manager, John Brodersen hopes the donation drive will be a great success.

“Of course I would love for the event to be a sell out with a lot of donations from attendees,” Brodersen said. “If we can get 125 to 150 for a first time event that would be great.”

According to Brodersen, the concert and donation drive has a possibility of becoming a yearly event.

“Moving forward, if the event is successful,” Brodersen said. “We will have discussions with all involved regarding the possibility of making this an annual event.”

As for Rhett Tyler, he looks forward to the donation drive being a victory for the homeless.

“I’m hoping it’s going to be a full house,” Tyler said. “We’ll see.” -30-

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