Austin Arts Give Harvey Relief

Comedy and classical music benefits raise $280K for Houston

Stand-up comics and classical musicians aren't the first folks you turn to during a natural disaster, but that doesn't mean they can't be a big help when one happens. Just look at what a host of local performers have done to provide relief to Southeast Texans laid low by Hurricane Harvey.

Ron White (Photo by Gary Miller)

On Sun., Sept. 3, several of the local classical scene's superstars – the Miró Quartet, Austin Chamber Music Center Artistic Director Michelle Schumann, Austin Classical Guitar Executive Director Matt Hinsley, and singers from the Grammy-winning choral ensemble Conspirare – assembled at Saint John's United Methodist Church on Allandale for Hope After Harvey, a benefit concert. The free event raised $31,500 for Houston's Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund and collected several carloads of relief supplies, plus more than 200 people signed up to volunteer in the recovery efforts over the coming weeks and months.

Two nights later, it was the punch line masters' turn, taking over the Paramount Theatre for Harvey Relief Benefit: Comedy Helps. The evening was spearheaded by a couple of Austin comedy vets, Turk Pipkin and John O’Connell – who had engineered a similar event following Hurricane Katrina – in partnership with the historic venue. Joining them were a few comedians who were no strangers to the Paramount stage: Ron "Tater" White, Chris D’Elia, and Iliza Schlesinger. They raised more than $250,000 for the American Red Cross’ Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in Texas.

(l-r) John O'Connell, the Paramount's Jim Ritts, a representative of the American Red Cross, Ron White, Chris D'Elia, Iliza Schlesinger, and Turk Pipkin (Photo by Gary Miller)

You might think that the Paramount would consider a quarter of a million dollars a decent contribution to the relief effort. But it isn't stopping there. When stand-up sensation Jim Norton brings his Kneeling Room Only tour there on Sat., Sept 30, all proceeds from the show will be donated to Hurricane Harvey relief. If you need a taste of Norton's special brand of stand-up to encourage your attendance, then check out his special Mouthful of Shame, currently streaming on Netflix.

Update, 11:45am: And the University of Texas' Butler School of Music has just announced HurricAID, a four-hour benefit concert on Tue., Sept. 26. For a suggested donation of $20, you'll be able to hear students, faculty members, and guest artists perform from 6-10pm in Bates Recital Hall. Gifts are also being accepted through the Horns Up for Harvey Relief campaign.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 36 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Hurricane Harvey
Horror Fans for Harvey Relief
Horror Fans for Harvey Relief
First Death By Festival becomes hurricane fundraiser

Richard Whittaker, Sept. 9, 2017

Austin Shelters Brace for Harvey's Second Flood
Austin Shelters Brace for Harvey's Second Flood
From evacuees to displaced locals, Red Cross readying long week

Joseph Caterine, Aug. 28, 2017

More by Robert Faires
Spectrum Theatre Company's <i>Juneteenth Chronicles</i>
Spectrum Theatre Company's Juneteenth Chronicles
With this play, Crystal Bird Caviel honors ancestors who were slaves and her colleague, the late Dr. Billy F. Harden

June 15, 2018

Heartland Theatre Collective’s <i>Little Bird</i>
Heartland Theatre Collective’s Little Bird
The vulnerability of small things is at the heart of Nicole Oglesby’s drama of girls and ghosts in East Texas bayou country

June 15, 2018


Hurricane Harvey, Michelle Schumann, Matt Hinsley, Miró Quartet, Conspirare, Paramount Theatre, Turk Pipkin, John O'Connell, Ron White

AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2018

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle