For six musicians, the issue of youth homelessness on South Whidbey united them. What resulted was the Rainey Music Project, a group of musicians playing for Ryan’s House for Youth.
The band will perform this Saturday at South Whidbey High School with the funds going toward Ryan’s House — a non-profit organization dedicated to island youth.
Lead singer and guitarist Rainey, her stage name, put the band together for the purpose of helping youth who are homeless. She wants to help students who are trying to go to school and be the best they can be.
“Kids are our future,” she said.
“I’m always working for the unseen,” she added.
Rainey wrote the song “This Can’t Be Right,” after she was impacted by a teenager who was homeless in Seattle. She gave the teen money, but later thought, “Money doesn’t help, they need a place to stay.”
Lori Cavender, executive director of Ryan’s House, said she was thankful for the band making Ryan’s House a beneficiary of the concert and for their efforts.
Cavender said Rainey is a talented musician and is grateful the band is sharing these stories in such a special and beautiful way.
The concert will benefit 10 students who are currently living with host families, Cavender said. In addition to the 10 students, Ryan’s House provides a safe environment for students at risk and aims to build a shelter for youths on the island.
Cavender hopes the show brings understanding to the issues young people are going through when they find themselves without a home. The concert will also help the organization move forward with the shelter, which is something Rainey wants to see in the future.
“I’m worried so much about these kids,” Rainey said. “Everything told me to do something for them. The only thing I know how to do is sing.”
Rainey met many of her band members through other benefits and called on them to perform for Ryan’s House. They rehearsed for months leading up to the concert, and wrote 20 original songs for the show. Rainey hopes to eventually record some of the songs.
The group also includes Rich Rorex on guitar, Robert Marsanyi on keyboard, Dave Willis on bass, Alan Brown on drums and Eric Vanderbilt-Mathews on saxophone.
“They are such wonderful people, so talented and inspirational,” she said.
She said the combination of each musician’s personality makes for a distinct rock group.
“It’s really quite special,” she said.
She said that efforts put into the youths will come back into the community tenfold as they grow into adulthood.
“They will come back with nothing left to lose, or come back as productive members of society. We need to take this seriously.”
“We need everyone to come out for their future, and the future of our community,” she said. “The community can’t afford to abandon these children.”