Making Music...

Making a Difference.

MOAM in the Press

The Hub, Eatontown, NJ
Eatontown, NJ August 29th, 2013 –
 Musicians on a Mission has booked nine musical acts, who have volunteered to perform, this fall at the Center for Vocational Rehabilitation’s (CVR) Sessions at CVR. Sessions at CVR are lunch hour performances for the special needs participants at CVR’s Eatontown facility. Musicians on a Mission is assisting CVR as part of their efforts to raise awareness and create connections through the power of music. CVR launched Sessions at CVR as a way to increase socialization opportunities for their special needs participants.

“When this opportunity to support Sessions at CVR was presented to our board, we all agreed it just made sense,” said Brenda Wirth, Musicians on a Mission board member. “The sentiment of connecting, sharing and making a difference through music is at the heart of our mission statement. I also believe the musicians who perform at CVR will find it to be an incredibly rewarding experience. This is a real opportunity to make a difference.”

Exposure to the arts can play an essential role in the lives of all people with special needs by promoting self-expression and communication.

“We could not be more appreciative of Musician on a Mission’s commitment to Sessions at CVR,” said Travis Johnson, marketing and activities coordinator at CVR. “When Brenda (Wirth) opened up her booking calendar and showed me that she had musicians booked throughout the fall, I could not believe it. To have musicians come here and perform is such a validator for our special needs participants. It makes an amazing positive impact. Beyond the fact that they will be singing, dancing and smiling, they also gain an increased sense of self-worth.”

Sessions at CVR Fall Schedule
8/29 Gary Phillips
9/5 Michael Cappelluti
9/12 Gina Leigh
9/19 Ankar
9/26 Clan Suibhne
10/3 Keith Monacchio
10/10 Brandon Broderick
10/17 Michael Brett
10/24 Sal Aversano

For further information about “Sessions at CVR,” please contact Travis Johnson - Phone: 732-544-1800 ext 230 E-mail:

Musicians who wish to participate in a future edition of “Sessions at CVR,” please contact Brenda Wirth - E-mail:

Founded in 1954, the Center for Vocational Rehabilitation (CVR) has provided what people with disabilities need most for their self-respect and the esteem of others: WORK. CVR facilitates personal growth and helps bring dignity and respect to the people it serves through a variety of vocational and partial-care rehabilitation programs. For more information about CVR, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, please visit:

Musicians on a Mission was founded to utilize the power of music to create connection and inspire giving. Musicians on a Mission seeks to raise awareness and funds for local charitable organizations and support the local music community by creating opportunities for musicians to connect, share, and make a difference through their music. For more information about Musicians on a Mission, please visit:


The Hub, September, 2011

All-volunteer group to perform Sept. 25 in Allenhurst.

By Kristen Dalton

     Cathy Noblick and her daughter, Jenny Woods, have always had the desire to give back to the community, but were missing the key ingredient to successfully execute their goal: the music.
     In November, 2010 they created Musicians on a Mission (MOAM) and have raised ore than $3,000 for eight local charities.
     On September 25 from 5 to 9 p.m., their ninth event at Mr. C’s Beach Bistro in Allenhurst will benefit the New Jersey Friends of Clearwater and feature local band Random Test and tropical-rock artist Gary Phillips.
     “People connect through music in many ways: the spirit of being there together, listening to the music and how it touches people, and how they share those emotions with each other,” said Woods, a singer-songwriter.
     Prior to MOAM, she had lived in Asheville, NC for a few years.  Upon return to her native Garden State she found herself without any close ties or connections.
“When I got here, I didn’t know anybody.  The friends that I used to have all moved away,” she said.  “I started going to open mics, and that’s where I met a lot of musicians.”
     She didn’t realize how tight-knit the community of musicians was until she began performing with them in various gigs. “Coming back here and getting into this Mecca of music was just thrilling for me, and I’m grateful to be surrounded by these people and all this giving. To be able to do the charity and the music at the same time is just a fantastic thing,” said Woods.
     MOAM events have benefitted local nonprofits, including the Asbury Park Musical Heritage Foundation, Family Promise, the Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties and Coastal Habitat for Humanity. They have also assisted homeless veterans throughout Monmouth County.
     As many as 150 people have attended a single event donating as much as $800 in a single night, said Woods.
     Noblick, a Shrewsbury therapist, believes that giving and volunteering are good for mental health.  “It’s a win for everybody involved,” she said. “Musicians always want to play, charities are always looking for financial support and people always want to do some good while having some fun. It just seemed like the perfect fit,” Noblick said.
     There are all sorts of connections being made thanks to the organization, all held together through a common musical thread.
     “When people are listening or playing music together, that itself creates a connection between human beings.  People are clapping together, dancing together, moving together and responding to the music together,” said Noblick.
    All of the events MOAM has hosted have a theme.  September’s event honors the beach and promotes awareness of clean water. Phillips was a perfect fit with his trop-rock music.
     “Trop-rock is a mixture of a lot of different types of music, obviously tropical, rock’n’roll, southern rock,” he said of the relatively new genre.
“it’s all about that easy, laid-back feeling, sitting by the beach, the sun and the sand and just easy times.”
     Woods commented on how historically rich the Monmouth County area is in music, serving as a melting pot of genres.
     “I have heard some of the best rockabilly country down to the greatest singer-songwriters.  There are serious, amazing, heart-wrenching songs from amazing, brilliant people; from rock’n’roll, straight-up blues to old-school jazz. You can really run the gamut in this area,” said Woods.
     “All of the musicians that perform for MOAM volunteer their time and talent, with 100 percent of the proceeds donated to selected charity,” said Woods.
     Typically, admission is a $10.00 donation at the door of the venues, which have included tea houses, coffee houses, bars and restaurants.
     Performances have taken place at The Wonder Bar and The Saint in historic Asbury Park, while others have been standing room only at Red Bank’s Novel Teas or at Cake Bake & Roll in Long Branch’s Pier Village. 
     Phillips said he enjoys the intimate venues, which allow him to interact and talk to many of the people who come out in support.
     “There’s a lot of satisfaction to see the faces of the people you’re performing for.  There’s always interaction, and if there wasn’t, if you’re not interacting with the people who come out to see you, then you shouldn’t be doing it.”
     That’s what makes it what it is.  To get up there and just sing, you know, I can do that in my living room.”
     Woods was only 13 years old when she began writing songs and picked up her first guitar at age 18. 
It’s the one major thing that brings me the most joy in my life: playing and singing,” she said. “If you’re a musician, that’s what you do to keep yourself happy.”
     On October 9, 5-9 p.m., MOAM will host the first “Women of Song” event in conjunction with Rosie’s Cafe at Atonement Lutheran Church in Asbury Park.  The event will benefit 180 Turning Lives Around, a Monmouth County nonprofit dedicated to ending domestic and sexual violence.
     According to the website, the inaugural event is “a coalition and celebration of female singers, songwriters, artists and poets dedicated to raising awareness of women’s issues.”
     For more information, visit MOAM online at


Aquarian- John Pfeiffer

Musicians On A Mission – The First Two Years – In Memory Of Brian Mowery

When outsiders think of New Jersey, the images are quite varied. Some bring visions of overcrowded shopping malls and carjacking, of drunken idiots in Seaside nightclubs, cavorting, fighting and mating like wild animals. Some invoke overcrowded parkways and backwater swamps filled with toxic waste. But there’s also our good side.
Our sunny, fun-filled boardwalks. Our Italian-owned, Mexican-run pizza parlors, the invention of the light bulb in Menlo Park, the first brewery in America (Hoboken) and the Miss America Pageant in good ol’ Atlantic City. There’s also the more serious image of people rushing to the aid of neighbors after Hurricane Sandy, pitching in and showing a solidarity that takes precedence over all and evoking the now common “Jersey Strong” slogan.
Another part of Jersey pride is the musicians that call our state home. These are the best of the best and they leave no stone unturned in their pursuit of utilizing their talents for the benefit of all in need. I first heard about Musicians On A Mission from Brenda Wirth, promoter of Rosie’s Cafe shows and member of the MOAM board of directors. She sent me the company’s flagship compilation titled MOAM, The First Two Years.
The CD included a note explaining that monies raised from this particular CD would be going to the Monmouth County SPCA in memory of recently deceased Brian Mowery, drummer for the band The Wag. I hadn’t actually known Brian all that well, but it shocked me to hear of his passing. Brian was a solid member of MOAM and loved helping with the organization’s shows and donations through performance. It’s a sad thing when someone you know dies, but when it’s a vital and active member of our musical community, it’s a tragedy on a whole different level. Brian is actually featured on the CD and plays ukulele on the song “River” by Jenny Woods. His wife (they were married only a week before he died) picked the charity for which donations would be made on Brian’s behalf.
The CD boats a whopping 17 songs, most previously unreleased, with live performances tapped from the organization’s second anniversary party over at Urban Nest in Asbury Park. This disc features off-the-cuff performances from everyone from Tommy Strazza to Brian’s long-time band (over 14 years), The Wag.
MOAM, The First Two Years, is a mixture of acoustic and electric performances that surprised me with its ample, individual style that still manages a smooth continuity. Some of my favorite cuts were the airy and darkly effectual “Kansas” by Sheli Aarden-Monacchio, as well as the storytelling rebellion of George Wirth on “For Your Love.” I also enjoyed “Spoke Too Soon” by ex-Divine Sign guitarist Michael Askin. Askin is a writer that speaks softly but carries a hefty, melodic stick. Michael Patrick provides some genuine Nashville twang with his “As Far As I Can See” and Arlan Feiles serenades the Americana masses with his stellar “Tomorrow’s Gonna Be A Better Day.” Jenny Woods’ “River” features some of the last performance chords by the late Brian Mowery.
It’s extremely difficult not to mention each artist on this CD, as it is an intensely focused and precise group of A-list writers. The fact is that they all do this for the love of the performance, not the money, and it shines throughout on this jewel of a disc. Musicians On A Mission use the power of music to create connection and inspire giving. Kudos go out to all the musicians that took the time to help out and make a difference on this disc. 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of this CD will be donated to the Monmouth County SPCA in memory of MOAM alumnus Brian Mowery.
For information on joining or purchasing MOAM, The First Two Years, head over to


MON-APR-Homegrown Hero  (Natural Awakenings)                

Musicians on a Mission
By Linda Sechrist

Ever since Jenny Woods’ could imagine lyrics and her fingers were strong enough to pluck and pick, she has been singing her songs and strumming her guitar. While Woods’ musical work so far has largely been for her own pleasure and sheer delight, the founder of Musicians on a Mission recently decided to share her musical talents and those of other area musicians with her community.

“I wanted to give back to my community and using the universal language of music, which lifts people spirits and creates connections, was the most logical choice,” says Woods, who admits that the idea of starting a nonprofit organization had been percolating for sometime. “When I moved back to this area from North Carolina several years ago, I decided to do something with my music and began going to open mike sessions where I connected with a community of incredibly talented musicians who encouraged and supported my music,” says Woods. “Naturally I wanted to return their generous spirit in a way that would bring them recognition and make a difference in my community as well.”

Woods’ nonprofit Musicians on a Mission partners with other local nonprofit organizations to create benefit concerts and musical events. Shows are held monthly at a variety of locations throughout the Jersey Shore area, Woods’ childhood and adolescent playground. The format of each event varies and highlights the rich diversity of local musical talent. All proceeds from the event are donated to the partner organization. “Our February event at NovelTeas in Red Bank was our fourth and benefited Family Promise of Monmouth County, the only homeless shelter that caters to families,” she says. Proceeds totaled $600 plus paper products and toiletries.

The upcoming event at the Asbury Blues, a new club in Asbury Park, features three full bands comprised of musicians from all over the state. When asked if she intends to play there, Woods replies, “Not this time because there are so many other musicians who want to donate their time and I need to help my mom, who is my co-founder, with organizing upcoming events. Event planning, organizing and overseeing are time-consuming activities, which is why we are always looking for volunteers.”

The future for Musicians on a Mission that plays in Woods’ imagination is one with more musicians and bigger events that build greater awareness of the need to support community charities. The concept, which has already grown beyond Woods’ wildest expectations, appears to be limitless. “I wouldn’t even want my imagination to put any limitations on what we can do and whom we can help, including one another.”  

When you’re as in love with making music as Woods is, it doesn’t take a leap of faith to create a way of giving. “Using the power of music to raise awareness and inspire charitable giving was a natural thing to do,” quips Woods, who adds that filling out the volunteer form on the website is one way that anyone can share their time and reap the rewards of un and great music.

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