Arts community gives back to Marty Collins with second benefit concert
Shortly before he suffered the internal injury that nearly ended his life, Marty Collins made a promise.
“I made him promise me that he would make it through this,” his wife Ginny Mitchell says, thinking back to the day Collins checked into the hospital last summer for what doctors anticipated would be a routine procedure: the insertion of a feeding tube. Though he doesn’t remember the 49 days he spent in the intensive care unit after suffering a dangerous and rare complication—a perforated bowel—Collins can still recall making that vow.
It’s a promise he has kept, largely due to a strong spirit and an insatiable lust for life, but also thanks to the help of the Santa Cruz arts community, which quickly rallied around Collins in the months following the incident.
Without the help she and her husband received from local religious leaders, artists, musicians and filmmakers, Mitchell says, “We could not have gotten through this.”
Upon hearing that Collins, a two-time cancer survivor, had been hit with yet another potentially fatal blow, the community stepped up. Richard Hoover of the Santa Cruz Guitar Company donated money to help pay the couple’s mounting medical bills, which Medicare did not completely cover; the Rev. Deborah Johnson of the Soquel-based Inner Light Ministries helped Mitchell keep her spirits up while she took care of her ailing husband; and local musicians jumped at the chance to play a series of benefit concerts for Collins—the second of which, “Music For Marty Part 2,” will be held at Don Quixote’s on Feb. 10.
Collins is known throughout Santa Cruz as an old school surfer, filmmaker and a patron of the arts, with a comprehensive vision for the continued growth of the local creative community. With Mitchell, his wife of 13 years, he founded the Digital Media Factory of Santa Cruz—the professional film production studio, which operates out of the former Wrigley gum factory. Recently, the DMF has been producing the magazine-style web series, Santa Cruz Live.
Mitchell says that her husband has made it his life’s work to give the gift of music and art to the community he loves so dearly. “He gives and gives and never asks for anything for himself,” she says.
But now that Collins has slowed down so that he can focus on his recovery, the community is paying him back for his years of service.
Mitchell has started a fundraising campaign through the website GiveForward.com, which has raised a little more than half of its $15,000 goal. On top of that, the Valley Churches United Missions of Ben Lomond has started a separate fund to insure against the “catastrophic”—a gesture of support both for Collins and Mitchell, who is herself a well-respected local musician and longtime resident.
The community has not only given
money, they have also helped Collins by providing him with what Mitchell calls “the best medicine”: music.
Listening to his iPod and live bedside performances “allows him the freedom to put things aside and feel,” Mitchell says. “It changes his physiology. It heals him. Music has always been life-altering for Marty.”
Lacy J. Dalton, who will headline “Music For Marty Part 2,” is excited to be able to help the man she has known and grown to deeply respect for close to 20 years.
“He is such a big part of the scene in Santa Cruz,” Dalton says. “Marty is a wonderful person. [Collins and Mitchell] need the support right now. Marty has always supported everyone else. It was a no-brainer for me to play the show. I’m honored.”
Collins’ health has improved greatly since September. He is now periodically breathing without the aid of a ventilator and on the road to living ventilator free. He is also walking on his own—rising from bed, walking to the porch and sitting outside to look out over the ocean. Most important of all, Mitchell says, Collins is now out of the hospital and living at home.
“He loves Santa Cruz,” she says. “It’s his home. He loves the surf, he loves the mountains, and he loves the people.” And it’s clear, the people love Marty.
“Music For Marty Part 2” takes place at 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10 at Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy 9, Felton. $20. For tickets, visit brownpapertickets.com/event/313808. For more info and to donate, visit giveforward.com/musicformarty or vcum.org.
Photos: Fred Arellano