Mockingbird Foundation benefits music education |

Mockingbird Foundation benefits music education

Gary Kank

Just as fish spawn their young, Phish’s music spawned a Mockingbird.

The Mockingbird Foundation was started by a small group of Phish fans in 1997, who decided to compile a book representing the Phish head community.

“The book was really the concept that spawned the foundation,” said Noah Cole, Mockingbird’s media consultant and book contributor. “There was so much information being exchanged online in the early 1990s that a core group of us decided, ‘lets do something productive.'”

The group decided to produce a high quality book with all proceeds benefiting music education for children. In keeping their commitment to charity, the foundation incorporated in the state of New York as a nonprofit organization.

“Our forming as an official organization for no profit was a lot different than what many other people were doing in Phish oriented projects at the time,” Cole said.

In the fall of 2000, after many months of compiling data and facts from hundreds of contributors, the foundation released the first pressing of “The Phish Companion,” a 928 page book, labeled by many fans as the “definitive Phish encyclopedia.”

Following the release of the book, Mockingbird began working on their next project, a Phish tribute album which will be released sometime in May.

The double disc set, titled “Sharing in the Groove,” will be set up like a Phish show, including an acapella encore from FRED, a world famous barber shop quartet. The lineup includes many artists who performed with Phish onstage, including Merl Saunders, Little Feat, Jimmy Buffet, Arlo Guthrie, Amfibian and Lake Trout.

“Phish’s music is very diverse, so it seemed a good idea to have every genre of music represented, from barber shop quartet to orchestral to alternative,” Cole said.

Both the book and album benefit music education for children.

“It seemed a natural decision to benefit music education because most of the money is coming from music fans,” Cole said.

With proceeds from the first pressing of the book, the Mockingbird Foundation has raised over $10,000 and made grants to three very unique and diverse programs in music education for children. The foundation is excited about the first wave of donations and hopes more money will be raised with the tribute album.

“We are projecting sales of the album anywhere in between $500,000 and $1,000,000,” Cole said.

These figures assume everyone hits the store.

“With the connection Phish fans have online and through tape trading it would be easy to get this music elsewhere, but we urge everyone to go out and buy the album, considering it does go to a great cause.”

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