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Westfield's Charitable Coffee With Conscience Concert Series Seeks New Host

Barrie Knapp

Monday, February 24, 2014 • 12:08pm

WESTFIELD, NJ – After 14 years, Ahrre Maros of Ahrre’s Coffee Roastery is stepping down as host of the Coffee with Conscience Concert Series, which raises money for local charities while providing a venue for artists to display their talents. 

With seven shows per year, the series acts as a fundraiser for much needed causes, such as Habitat for Humanity, Community Foodbank of New Jersey, Keith Knost Special Needs Fund and HomeFirst. Until now, Ahrre’s Coffee Roastery has provided the coffee, and Maros booked the artists to perform at the events.

Some of the sell-out performances Maros has brought to Westfield include Christine Lavin, Lucy Kaplansky, GrooveLily, D’Vinci’s Notebook and Dar Williams.

The Coffee with Conscience Concert Series began as a way for the Springfield Emanuel United Methodist Church in Springfield, NJ to attract new congregants. Each concert was paired with a charity that received the proceeds from the event. In 2000, The First United Methodist Church of Westfield loved the concept and decided to create a Coffee with Conscience Concert Series of their own, with Maros on the committee.

“I'm sure they were merely looking for a coffee donation for the event. They ended up getting me and my coffee road show: A nicely decorated table with pump-pots of various coffees, brochures and coffee gadgets on display,” said Maros.

Now, Maros is looking for someone to fill his position as host of the Coffee With Conscious Concert Series. Recently, the events have been in direct competition with at least two other concerts within fifteen miles, causing a drop in attendance.

“I don't have it in me to rally and try to build the series back up.  I'm burned out. It's time to step aside and let someone else take a shot at it,” said Maros.

Hosting the concert series is both easy and involved, he said. After the opening and featured acts are booked for an event, a charity is assigned to the concert. A page for each event is created on Eventbrite.com, where tickets can be purchased in advance. To publicize the event, posters and flyers are distributed around Downtown Westfield and local media are contacted. The day of the concert, the church basement fellowship hall is converted into a concert hall with the help of local volunteers.

Anyone interested in hosting the Coffee with Conscience Series must fulfill certain requirements: Have similar acoustic-pop music taste as Maros so that his extensive contact list used for the concerts is useful; be able-bodied (some of the work is physically demanding);  and the person taking over will need to accept full financial responsibility for the concerts. There is no funding and all of the proceeds go to charity.

Interested? Contact Maros at ahrre@verizon.net

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