Annie Rodgers talks to attendees at the North Adams Lip Dub Kickoff Party at the Parlor Cafe on Saturday.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Dozens of people packed the Parlor Cafe on Saturday to support to the North Adams Lip Dub Committee by attending the group's kickoff party and helping organizers raise $470 toward their goal.
"I am beyond pleased. I'm thrilled," Annie Rodgers, the organizer of the North Adams Lip Dub, said. The event at the Parlor marked the preliminary stages of the fundraising campaign for the organization. According to Rodgers, $8,250 needs to be raised to make the North Adams Lip Dub a reality.
The kickoff party featured an array of acts from North Adams talents. Christian Phiffer, Jessica Sweeney, Sarah Russell and Alex Whoolner read poems to the crowd assembled in the cafe. Local musician Nate Rogers and the North Adams-based band Hill Haints played short sets later in the evening.
In between the poetry and the music, Rodgers took the opportunity to explain Lip Dub to the audience and showed several YouTube examples of similar projects. Filming is scheduled for Sept. 27.
"Every single person that you see is a part of this," Rodgers said to the crowd.
Rodgers, who coordinates the Northern Berkshires Neighbors program of the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition, said she sees the North Adams Lip Dub as a way for all residents of the city to show their pride in where they live and celebrate their community, all while having fun doing it.
"I think it's a very cool idea," said North Adams resident Kurt Kolok. Not only does he serve on the committee, Kolok also acted in the promotional video created for the event. "It helps show people what this town is about."
Kolok was not the only individual enthused by the idea of a lip dub video featuring this small Northern Berkshire city.
"I think it's really exciting. I think North Adams is a great spot to do it, and we have the type of community that would support it," Russell, one of the poets who read on Saturday, said.
Russell moved to North Adams from upstate New York in 2003 and has no intention of leaving her new home. In fact, the 28-year-old is in the process of buying a house here.
At the end of the evening, Rodgers made a special announcement: The Lip Dub Committee decided to hold a contest to select the song to be used. But the committee isn't looking for the latest top 40 hit.
Instead, Rodgers announced that any area musicians, songwriters or other interested people can create a song about North Adams, or one that relates to the theme of home and community. The project is being directed by Peter Gentile, director of the television studio at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and longtime volunteer with Northern Berkshire Community Television.
As of Sunday evening, the North Adams Lip Dub had raised $945 toward its goal on Kickstarter.com. The group has just 59 more days to reach the $8,250 goal, according to Kickstarter.com's rules.