Note: This release was submitted by the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame.

PAWTUCKET – In response to the Coronavirus pandemic the Tune In & Tune Up Rhode Island Musicians Health Awareness Program, a committee initiative of the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame, has developed “The Grocery List Grant.” With Rhode Island’s working musicians now facing months of cancelled gigs, Tune In & Tune Up wanted to help some of them with one of life’s basic needs – purchasing food. Tune In & Tune Up is committed to donating $10,000 of grocery gift cards to Rhode Island musicians. 

“We know we can’t help every musician in need but we knew we had to do something,” says Tune In & Tune Up co-chair Russell Gusetti. “Working with fellow co-chairs Don “D.C.” Culp and Al Puerini M.D., a plan was developed to distribute some of the money Tune In & Tune Up has raised over the years.” The result is a one-time grant of a $100 Stop & Shop gift card specifically geared to Rhode Island’s working musicians who derive 50% or more of their income by playing, teaching, or producing music in a live setting.

“In the spirit of the mission of Tune In & Tune Up, Russ, DC and I got together (virtually, of course) to brainstorm about what TI&TU could do for our musician friends,” says co-chair Al Puerini. “We are acutely aware of the cancelled gigs, the stress, and of course the financial hardship that accompanies this pandemic when someone can no longer earn a living.”

Musicians are encouraged to visit: and click on “Apply for Grocery List Grant” on the home page, fill out the short form, and hit submit. If you are selected you will be notified via email. Eligible applications will be awarded on a first-come first served basis. Those selected will soon receive a $100 Stop & Shop gift card in the mail. 

“I’d like to personally acknowledge Anna Robinson at the Ten Rod Road Stop and Shop in North Kingstown,” says Culp. “She immediately bought in to what Tune In & Tune Up was trying to achieve and really helped to expedite our request through corporate.” Stop and Shop has generously donated and additional $1,000 toward the Grocery List Grant initiative. Says Robinson, “Stop & Shop has a longstanding history of giving back to the neighborhoods it serves and we are proud to support local charitable organizations in our communities especially during this critical time.”

“Because Tune In & Tune Up’s funds are limited we are asking that members of Rhode Island’s music community use this opportunity only if truly in need,” says Gusetti, adding, “We are really trying to reach the working musician who has seen their primary income source cut off due to canceled gigs.” 

“We can’t make this health crisis go away but we do want Rhode Island musicians to know that the community is looking out for them,” says Culp. “That concept is what has led to our motto at Tune In & Tune Up: One who has health has hope, and one who has hope has everything.”

If you are an individual or business that would like to donate any amount to THE GROCERY LIST GRANT, please make a check payable to R.I. Music Hall of Fame, put Grocery List Grant in the memo line, and mail your check to: R.I. Music Hall of Fame, 999 Main Street, #100, Pawtucket, RI 02860. 100% of your donation will be used to purchase additional Stop & Shop gift cards to distribute to Rhode Island musicians.

Ken Abrams

Lifestyle Editor Ken Abrams writes about music, the arts and more for What'sUpNewp. He is also a contributor to Providence Monthly, SO RI, Hey Rhody and The Bay magazines.
Ken DJ's "The Kingston Coffeehouse," a roots/folk/rock radio show every Tuesday, 6-9 PM on WRIU 90.3 FM. He is a former educator in the Scituate, RI school system where he taught Social Studies for over 30 years.
Ken is presently on the board of the Rhode Island Folk Festival and Newport Live (formerly Common Fence Music), a non-profit that brings diverse musical acts to the Newport area.