Johnny Hoy to play a rockin’ benefit for The Yard in Chilmark

See Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish this Friday, Jan. 13 at the Chilmark Community Center. — File photo by Ralph Stewart

“Dance” on the Vineyard is practically synonymous with The Yard. The Yard provides a teaching, learning and, performance space that has attracted dancers and choreographers from many parts of the dance world. Like most nonprofits, they rely to a large extent on fundraising

They are asking for our help in reducing their debt by hosting a “Public Dancing Allowed” fundraiser Friday evening, Jan. 13, from 8 to 10 pm at the Chilmark Community Center. The dance, open to the public, is being promoted as “dancing and desserts to support The Yard.” Music will be provided by Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish, one the Island’s best dance bands, specializing in music that covers pretty much the entire spectrum of rock and roll. The desserts will be provided by friends of The Yard and Cakes by Liz. The cost of admission is $20 and children dance for free. It is a BYOB event.

The Yard has held a series of fundraisers to help reduce a debt left over from a rocky period. In addition to the plight of many other arts organizations suffering from the double whammy of cutbacks from government-funded arts organizations and individuals, The Yard underwent an internal administrative upheaval in 2010 that left the group owing a number of companies a total of some $248,000.

Jesse Keller, resident manager for Island programs and education, said that while she could not provide an exact figure for the remaining debt, The Yard had made considerable progress. “We have retired roughly two-thirds of our debt through payments, the generosity and reorganization of debt with individual creditors and help from our board,” Ms. Keller said. “We have installment plans in place to pay the remainder over the next two years.”

This is the third dance in the series launched by The Yard this past summer to give people a chance to dance to the music of local bands and help support the group’s transformed barn/theater in its wooded setting off Middle Road near the Chilmark Town Hall.

The Yard is hoping to sponsor more off-season events to increase their year-round exposure, according to Jesse Keller, the resident manager of Island programs and education. Nearing the end of his first year as the director of The Yard, David White said of the first two fundraisers, “It was great. It was multiple generations gathering simply for the love of dance.” The first two dance events featured the music of The Kahoots in July and Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish in August.

Public Dancing Allowed: Dancing & Desserts to Support The Yard, with Johnny Hoy & The Bluefish, Friday. Jan. 13, 8–10 pm, Chilmark Community Center, $20 at the door; free for children. BYOB.