It was a happy accident when Mike Mizwinski ended up at Arts YOUniverse to play a gig after his show at the River Common was canceled due to rainy weather. Three years and falling head over heels for the downtown Wilkes-Barre venue later, Mizwinski has used the space, now part of the larger Downtown Arts, every Thanksgiving Eve to host Live at Downtown Arts, a show full of local music whose proceeds go to charities.
This year's performance will benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy, a decision that goes hand in hand with the reason Mizwinski fell in love with Arts YOUniverse in the first place.
It's an old church and is, what I expect, naturally vibrating with very positive energy, the Pittston native said. It inspires me. When I go in there for shows or to record, I sing better and I play better. It's truly an inspiring place to be, as well as a beautiful one.
The show falls in line with the spirit of the holiday as well.
It's Thanksgiving, so I want to do something to give back, Mizwinski said. My mom lost power in upstate New York for a week, and I have many friends and loved ones that were affected by the storm, so this only seemed right.
Mizwinski is terming the show a free donation affair.
I'm not putting a cover charge on the show, and I don't want anyone to feel pressured into giving a certain amount, he said. If you have money you want to throw in, go for it, and if you don't, you're still welcome to come.
To accommodate more attendees and shoot for a nice, local, family vibe, this one will be an all-ages event.
Rock-Americana artist Mizwinski will end the night with a set of his own, which he hopes to record and sell as a live album before Christmas. To kick things off, though, Clarks Summit native Ryan Harris Brown, who now resides in Nashville, will bring his country sound to the stage, acoustic-style.
I know a lot of people that lost power, and I have a lot of friends in New York and New Jersey, so it'll be great to come back home and play a benefit show, Brown said. Plus, I haven't been there in about seven months.
The 24-year-old released his first EP, The Trail, last November. He moved to Nashville in April and has been working on building up his career since.
I'm here writing for a new album, I've been putting out demo tracks on my website every month, and I'm here with friends, so the experience has been great.
What: Third Annual Live at Downtown Arts to benefit Hurricane Sandy victims. With country artist Ryan Brown and local artist Mike Mizwinski
When: 7 to 10 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Arts YOUniverse, 47 N. Franklin St., Wilkes-Barre
More info: 970-2787