October 17, 2021

Fundraiser gets teen’s European tour on road

Katie Keyser/living and leisure editor

Annie Barnes of Cortland practices playing the drums on Feb. 11, 2020 at her family’s garage studio.

Annie Barnes first picked a pair of drum sticks and started banging away when she was a year old.

Thirteen years later, the Cortland High School freshman will take her skills across Europe this summer.

Barnes and 13 other musical acts performed Saturday to raise money to help pay for Barnes’s trip across Europe in July with the American Music Abroad program, including shows in Italy, Austria, Croatia, Switzerland and more.

Barnes will be a drummer with the program’s jazz ensemble and the concert band. She will also sing in the choir, said Brett Barnes, her father. It’s three weeks on a bus without parents and friends, but it’s a tour of Europe performing the music she loves.

“I’m feeling really great,” Annie Barnes said. “I’m a little bit nervous but I’m very excited.”

Annie Barnes was scheduled to perform Saturday in the Von Barnes Band, which includes her father, her brother Gino Barnes, Elliot Brown and Jennifer Newman.

Brett Barnes decided in October to have the fundraiser after his daughter was selected to perform with AMA, he said. He was able to get 14 bands to perform.

“I had a lot of good friends step up and fill the gaps,” he said.

The trip costs $6,500 and by the end of the day, the musicians had raised $2,400 toward a $3,000 goal, Brett Barnes said. Besides the music, raffles and food catered by Rex’s Pasta were available.

Fundraising efforts will continue, he said. “We went just over in the last hour so she is good to go just spending money to go.”

“She’s fantastic,” said Dennis DeRado, Annie Barnes’s drum teacher. “You couldn’t ask for anybody to work harder or do better than she does.”

She takes drumming seriously and doesn’t have a large ego. DeRado’s band was also scheduled to play Saturday evening.

The music scene in Cortland County in the past 10 years has seen a resurgence after it died down during the Great Recession of 2008, DeRado said. He noted how places like the Center for the Arts of Homer and Bru 64 in Cortland frequently have music acts.

“I think Cortland kind of always has been known for churning out some really good musicians for a small town so it’s nice to see it come back,” he said.

DeRado said Annie Barnes was one of three students who he told if they wanted to be a professional drummer, they could.

“I think she’s got a future ahead of her for sure,” he said.

“It’s a big deal and she’s a very accomplished musician already,” Brett Barnes said. “And this is a chance of a lifetime to go over.”


How you can help

For more information on how to help send Annie Barnes to Europe, contact Brett Barnes at brett@barnesfamily.me. He said he will take checks and PayPal donations.

The acts
Chasing Neon, Throw Down Cold, Dimitri Cosimo, Von Barnes Band, Iron Rock Blues Band, Rotten Johnny, The X-Plozionz!!!, Rogue Sound, Dead Intrepid, Chris Merkley, Espressivo Flute Quartet, Seven Leaf Clover, Cortland Camerata