Musicians help local programs through Operation Coexist

St. Petersburg, FL -- Local and national acts are taking to the stage in Downtown St. Pete for a good cause.

On the first Sunday of each month, the group Operation Coexist hosts a show at Ruby's Elixir in support of music therapy programs.

This month's show features artists including Will Erickson & the Wreckage, Paint the Town Red, the guitarist from Anberlin, and other nationally known acts that will remain a surprise until the day of the show. Doors open at 7 p.m. on Sunday, with music continuing until 1 a.m. They ask for a $5 donation at the door.

Ruby's Elixir donates the space and part of the bar proceeds from that night to Operation Coexist. The series is sponsored by Keep St. Petersburg Local and Daddy Kool Records, with Fireball Whisky providing free samples.

"I've always believed in the power of music to make great changes in the world, and this just happened to be a way that I figured I could make that happen," says musician Katie Talbert, who founded Operation Coexist just a few months ago. "It's amazing what happens when you bring a bunch of people together that all believe in the same thing."

They're hoping to help music therapy programs at local hospitals, as well as launch a music partnership between local colleges and high schools.

"I think it's an awesome cause, like the healing power through music," says artist Will Erickson. "Music really helped me just kind of get through those awkward teenage years, so it kind of hits home with me."

In December, they put on a show called "Santa's Angels" to buy presents and basic necessities for kids.

"I can take what I'm good at and partner with people with what they're good at and make a difference - it's the greatest thing in the world," says Justin Vilardi of Paint the Town Red. "There's nothing better than that."


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