PORTLAND, Ore. — For the last several years, Christine Yvette has made a living playing different gigs around town. She will tell you life was good. Then COVID hit.
"We had so many gigs last year that got canceled so it was a huge income loss for a lot of us," Yvette said.
Sound techs and event coordinators, among others, fell on hard times, too. Max Rees saw an opportunity.
"When I heard about people being food challenged, and knowing my friends who are totally dependent on playing nights, I began to worry," Rees said.
Rees, a 67-year-old retired band director, started the "Portland Musicians Relief Fund" to help those struggling.
"It's my community, so it's my way to try and do something that made me feel I was helping," he said.
So far Rees' GoFundMe has raised more than $5,000. A small piece of that went to Yvette.
"Max was so gracious," she said. "He's like, 'I'm going to help you with this.' I'm like thank you. It was heaven sent."
Yvette is also thankful for the loosening of restrictions around town. 50% occupancy at bars and restaurants in Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties allows Yvette to book gigs again. By no means is her calendar full like it was pre-pandemic, but for the first time in a long time there is hope.
"We're excited to get back at it," Yvette said. "All the musicians I know, we all feel the same way."
You can contribute to the Portland Musicians Relief Fund by clicking here.