Music in the Park Concert Benefits Austin Musicians
By Madeline Salinas
Reporting Texas TV
AUSTIN, Texas — Performers and fans at a Music in the Park concert on March 4 in Easton Park were thrilled to be back together for a live show.
“It’s great to get out and see people and come see live music again. It just brings life into the community,” said Stephen Moss, who attended the concert.
The Music in the Park series brings local Austin musicians to perform for the Easton Park community while also donating earnings to local charities. Previous events were residents-only events because of COVID-19, but this concert was open to the public. It featured the indie rock band Nané and all proceeds went to the Health Alliance of Austin Musicians (HAAM).
Chief development officer Christopher Alberts said HAAM provides access to affordable health care for working musicians in central Texas through a partnership with the Affordable Care Act.
“We provide, depending on the musician’s income, a level of premium assistance to make sure that health care is affordable for working musicians,” Alberts said.
HAAM also offers a full comprehensive suite of services for its musicians. Any musician who qualifies for services receives dental, hearing, vision and even mental health care.
For two years, COVID halted all live concerts and fundraising events that HAAM would usually host. Despite being in the heart of the music capital of the world, Alberts knew that HAAM had to sacrifice these events due to the risk of spreading the virus.
“As a health care organization, we felt is was our special responsibility to make sure that we were not having folks gather in an unsafe way,” Alberts said.
Since Austin moved into Stage 2 of COVID risk-based guidelines, that means Austinites can expect to see the full-capacity events that they’re used to.
More in-person events means that HAAM can continue to help out Austin musicians like Cory Reinisch.
“I never thought that I’d need to get help from HAAM, but you know, you don’t have a crystal ball. You don’t know when things like that are going to occur,” Reinisch said.
In 2018, Reinisch was playing at least one hundred shows a year, working two jobs and couldn’t afford a decent insurance plan at the time.
He started having abdominal pain in 2018. He brushed it off, but two days later, the pain became unbearable. He made his way to an emergency room, where he learned he had appendicitis and needed to have his appendix removed.
Thankfully for Reinisch, HAAM stepped in to help. They covered the entirety of his medical expenses and assured him that everything would be taken care of.
“They just made the process so easy that I didn’t have to worry about anything except getting healthy again,” he said.