CEDAR RAPIDS — Family, music and helping those in need. That’s the mission of the new local band Airwaves.
Several members of the band, which formed earlier this year, attend New Covenant Bible Church — a non-denominational church that encourages its congregation to practice a prayer, care and share lifestyle.
They wanted to find a way to help those struggling in the recession.
“We can’t do a lot about unemployment, but we can help feed people,” says Tim Calcara, who plays trumpet, flute and auxiliary percussion in “Airwaves.”
So the band, which isn’t affiliated with the church, collects non-perishable food items at their shows and gives all the donations to HACAP.
“When they called to tell us what they wanted to do, our reaction was ‘What would you like us to do?’” says Amanda Pieper, director of the HACAP Food Reservoir. “I was just so thrilled that an outside group was willing to work with us.”
According to FeedingAmerica.org, one in eight Iowans are considered “food insecure.” This label means they have inconsistent access to nutritious foods.
Summer is especially difficult for local food banks because the need is high — families with children who usually rely on schools for breakfast and lunch turn to the food bank during summer vacation — and donations are low.
“People are more willing to make donations during the holiday season,” Pieper says. “They don’t really think about the summer months.”
“It’s not a matter of convincing people that there’s a problem, but showing them that they can do something,” Calcara adds.
The band also want to put an emphasis on the power of family and community. They are a family band of sorts. Lead vocalist Jonathan Dyrland is married to the band’s backup singer, Meegan Dyrland. Calcara’s sons, Adam and Brett, play guitar and drums, respectively.
Harry Ebbeson plays the keyboard and Mike Davis plays guitar.
Mark Hixon is the band’s sound engineer. His son, Harrison, is the group’s bassist.
“It’s been really fun to be able to do this as a family,” Mark Hixson says. “It’s a great thing to be able to help people in the community.”
Hixson serves as a board member for several community organizations, including Foundation 2. As such, he has seen area food banks struggle to meet growing needs.
“I’ve been looking for things around the community that can actually help that need,” he says.
Playing music and promoting community is the perfect combination, they say. “Airwaves” covers some of the most popular music from the last 30 years, including Rascal Flatts, U2 and John Mayer.
Future show dates include RAGBRAI Thursday night and the Bremer County Fair on Aug. 3, but “Airwaves” would most love to play at neighborhood block parties.
“Lots and lots of block parties,” Calcara says. “We think our message of neighbors helping neighbors will resonate best that way.”
- Meredith Hines-Dochterman