Collingwood Arts Center to host George WinstonWritten by Kristen Criswell | | email@example.com
For more than two decades pianist George Winston has worked with food banks to host food drives at his concerts.
“Hunger is a bottom line thing. When you’re down on your luck you could sleep in a car, but where are you going to get food legally? So I’ve decided to work in that area,” said Winston during a phone interview from the road.
In Toledo, concert attendees are encouraged to bring canned goods to benefit the Toledo Northwestern Ohio Food Bank. Winston will give 100 percent of his merchandise sales to the group, he said.
Through the years Winston has also participated in other benefits. In 2006, he released “Gulf Coast Blues & Impressions — A Hurricane Relief Benefit,” a compilation of Gulf Coast composers to benefit Hurricane Katrina victims.
Winston is working on follow-up “Gulf Coast Blues & Impressions” volumes, with one due out in 2011, he said. The volume will also go to benefit the Gulf region, where Winston has lived since 1964, he said.
Winston is researching which charity to benefit with the next album, but hopes to help those affected by the oil spill, he said.
“So much needs to be done in the world. You’ve got to make priorities and pick them. These disasters that hit America and the Gulf, everyone wants to do something. This is the best I can do,” he said.
Inspired by The Doors, Winston began playing the organ in 1967. After listening to the music of Pat Waller, Winston switched to the piano, he said.
Winston’s most recent release, “Love Will Come — The Music of Vince Guaraldi: Volume 2,” features works from the late jazz pianist, including songs from the “Peanuts” animated specials.
“I just love his songs,” Winston said, “Seeing how these two volumes, how these songs fit together really well, I had to put it out.”
Guaraldi is one of three composers whose catalogs Winston has tried to play every song of, he said. Winston has also played all the works of The Doors and Professor Longhair.
“I just love their songs. I love every song and I want to play it,” he said.
Winston performs at the Collingwood Arts Center on Oct. 17 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 the day of the show.
During the concert the audience should expect to hear Winston’s summer show — a mix of New Orleans rhythm and blues, some folk piano, some Guaraldi and songs from his previous records.
“I just love Ohio. It’ll be great to be back in the region in general,” Winston said.
To purchase tickets, visit www.collingwoodartscenter.org.