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Concert series to make Joy-ful noise — for others

Matt Robinson

 While many claim that people only need food, clothing and shelter to sustain them, those in the know add one more element — music.

In this vein, singer/songwriter Ben Rudnick has joined forces with chef Michael Schlow to present a family-friendly concert series at Tico in Boston’s Back Bay that not only satisfies those who attend, but also many others.

In addition to Schlow, Rudnick has also partnered with Catching Joy, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting volunteerism and other community-minded efforts for families and children. Together, Rudnick and Catching Joy Founder Joy Surprenant have founded Ben Rudnick and Friends Family Works. After a succesful collaboration on Jan. 19, the dynamic duo of do-gooders will return to Tico on March 2.

According to Rudnick, the idea behind the new joint venture is “to create events that provide an opportunity for families to help specific charitable organizations in the Boston area.”

Among the recent beneficiaries are the pro-literacy organization Reach Out and Read, Cradles to Crayons, the Massachusetts National Guard, and The Women’s Locker Room Foundation, another not-for-profit whose mission is to supply homeless and newly-housed women of Massachusetts with personal hygiene products.

For the Tico show, parents are asked to donate items and children are invited to design cards to go along with them to give the women messages of hope and love.

“I got the idea for the whole Family Works thing by reading a book called Everything I Know About Business I Learned From the Grateful Dead,” explains the often tie-dye clad Rudnick, noting how the community-minded band often gave money to organizations in their native San Francisco and elsewhere on their legendary tours. “Having the band have a ‘help out’ component has been on my mind almost since we started.”

While Rudnick hopes to become known for his community efforts, most people know him for his music, including his latest CD, “Love is a Superpower.”

As for how Rudnick decided to host the show (which is part of a new family music series), he explains that Thomas Holland, a partner at Tico, reached out to him expressing interest in such a series. As Holland was a fellow music fan (and, in particular, a fellow “Dead Head”) and a father of two young boys, the two knew they were on to something.

“Giving, helping and doing what you can for those who need it is a good thing,” Rudnick asserts. “There is really no excuse not to.”