Lucas Cates Band Benefits Flood Victims in North Dakota
Written by Teri Barr
It’s the kind of story even a busy, Northside Madison-based, nationally touring group of musicians couldn’t ignore. And as more details about the recent flooding in various sections of the country were being reported; one particular area caught the eyes and hearts of those in The Lucas Cates Band.
The information was particularly devastating for bass player Mark Noxon. His mom grew up in Minot, North Dakota and his many relatives still living there, were being evacuated. “I saw the pictures of flooding and then realized it was the neighborhood where I spent so many of my summers as a kid. It took awhile to get ahold of my aunt, uncle and cousins; but finally learned they were fine. They just didn’t know if they could ever go back to their long-time homes there.” Noxon also described the uncertainly of the entire situation. “My relatives told me the water from the river had filled their basements and during a first evacuation, they moved everything to the main or second floor, says Noxon, “But as quickly as they thought it may be over the river rose even more and when they had the chance, they took everything they could out of their houses. For some, leaving it on the first or even second floor wasn’t high enough. The city re-banked and re-shaped the river years ago; controlling the flow of water and eventually allowing the federal government to lift the flood insurance requirement for all low-lying homes. My family hasn’t had that type of insurance or had to worry about it. Until now.”
It’s when Noxon also realized, it wasn’t just his family being hurt by this tragedy. Minot officials were reporting only one in ten home owners, in what used to be the flood zone, were still covered by flood insurance. So the band, collectively, decided to find a way to help. Lead guitar, mandolin and violinist, Kenny Leiser; drummer, Jesse Warmka; and lead singer and guitarist, Lucas Cates; quickly signed on to the idea of a benefit for flood victims throughout North Dakota. The group was out west, but juggled a few dates to make it happen. “We really have the desire to help. We’ve played other important fundraisers for good causes, but this is having a personal impact on one of our own,” says Cates. Leiser adds, “We knew it would be the right thing to do. Along with raising money, we could give them a night of fun.” Plans quickly came together and on Thursday, July 9, The Lucas Cates Band played The Stadium in Bismarck. It then donated the night’s earnings to the West Dakota Chapter of American Red Cross. “We also decided it was important, as a band, to make our own donation to the Chapter, ” says Warmka, “A recent follow-up e-mail reported the benefit raised more than $1400 for flood clean-up kits and donations were still coming in.”
And Noxon couldn’t be more pleased. “It shows how important any support is to everyone involved. I’m so grateful we could be one small piece in an effort to help people there get their lives back in some sort of order,” he says. It may also show how one band understands the power of using their special talents, to help others when it’s most needed.