A guitar auction featuring instruments from some of the biggest names in music raised more than $2 million for Music Rising. Lots featured in the mid-December action included Music Rising co-founder The Edge’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” custom Signature Fender Stratocaster, which sold for $410,000, and Paul McCartney’s tour-and-studio-played left-handed Wings Yamaha BB-1200 bass guitar, which fetched $390,000.
Other lots included Lou Reed’s tour-played “Goldie” Danny Gatton Fender Telecaster ($60,000), Noel Gallagher’s tour-played Nash Telemaster ($42,500), Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson’s tour-used amp ($22,500) and a variety of signed Pearl Jam concert posters.
The nonprofit has raised more than $10 million since 2005, when it was created to benefit New Orleans and other Gulf South states region musicians who, through either natural or manmade disasters, lost their instruments or their livelihoods.
“Music Rising started in reaction to hurricanes Katrina and Rita,” Co-founder Bob Ezrin, a keyboardist and producer whose producing credits include Lou Reed’s Berlin, Pink Floyd’s The Wall, Alice Cooper’s Billion Dollar Babies, Kiss’s Destroyer and many other seminal albums, told The NonProfit Times.
“There are places where music is central to the heartbeat of the country all over the country,” Ezrin continued. “When major natural – or even, in the case of Detroit, economic – disasters hit that denied a region their music, we would go in and do our best to shore them up.” Many of the efforts have focused on schools, although after Hurricane Katrina the organization helped reopen Preservation Jazz Hall in New Orleans.
Music Rising’s fundraising activities have included merchandise sales, concerts and donations of royalties. The 2021 auction was the first Music Rising had held since 2008, and was coordinated by Van Eaton Galleries’ Auctions, Sherman Oaks, Calif.
In addition to its intermittent fundraising activities, donations are also accepted through the organization’s administrative partner, Studio City, Calif.-based The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, which underwrites instruments for schools that serve students from low-income families. Ezrin is a member of The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation’s board of directors.