West Central Quartet to play Paws Inc. benefit


By Garth Snow


The West Central Quartet from Fort Wayne will perform a benefit concert for Paws Inc.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, at the Cottage Event Center, 9524 U.S. 24 at Locust Street, in Roanoke. Entertainment begins at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $12 and may be ordered by calling (260) 483-3508, or by visiting John’s Meat Market in Roanoke.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit Pets Assisting Well-Being and Success, also known as Paws Inc.

“Any time we can be part of something that gives back to the community, that we feel we’re appropriate to the event, we’re absolutely about that,” said Andrew Stout, who delivers the quartet’s vocals. “We have been fortunate to be a part of several benefits, including Camp Possibility for several years.

“We are kind of particular about how we play and where we play. We’re at Club Soda once a month, pretty religiously.”

Kay Anderson is director of placement services and also an animal assisted therapy consultant for Pets Assisting Well-Being and Success, also known as Paws Inc.

Paws Inc. has approximately 30 to 35 teams of dogs and handlers. They serve in Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Noble and Whitley and other area counties. All of their dog handler teams are registered and insured by the Alliance of Therapy Dogs, a national organization.

“They’ve all gone through the training and the testing that’s required of the Alliance of Therapy Dogs. It can be any breed; my own dogs were Rottweilers. It’s a matter of the dog’s temperament and disposition; that’s the bottom line.

“We specialize in therapeutic interventions. We work in the schools with kids with autism, and with hospice patients.”

Jim Amstutz manages the host venue for the Feb. 24 benefit. “We do a lot of these, where we give money to different nonprofit groups,” he said. Amstutz said he learned about Paws two years ago when he spoke with volunteers at a nonprofit’s gift-wrapping table at a bookstore. “I got to talking with the lady who was manning it, and we discovered that we went to the same high school just a few years apart, and she was the daughter of a couple of my teachers,” he said. “And I asked about her organization and it sounded like a really worthwhile organization that could use some funding and exposure. We actually had an event for them last year, and it went really well and we were really pleased to do it again.”

Amstutz said the West Central Quartet should appeal to the venue’s regular crowd, which welcomes the classics of generations past. “We’re really excited to have them, and I have a feeling this will not be the last time we have them. I think our audience will go nuts over them,” Amstutz said.

Roanoke is about 25 minutes south and west of Fort Wayne on U.S. 24.

Stout, the lead singer, said the West Central Quartet has been adding some contemporary artists, too. “Long before I was in the band it was an instrumental jazz band, with a rotating cast of instrumental musicians,” he said. “Ten years ago we took more of a vocal approach and still do some standards, some of the eclectic jazz that they were known for. But we’ve been adding some contemporary artists with our jazz arrangements.”