Horizon Books - Traverse City MI

Buckets of Rain rekindles hope in struggling neighborhoods through the development of urban gardens. Song for Hope is our annual fund raiser.

The 2017 A Song for Hope Songathon is scheduled for August 17-20 – once again, we take over Downtown Traverse City in front of Horizon Books to break yet another record – this time, 42 hours of the Woody Guthrie classic “This Land is Your Land” to raise money for Buckets of Rain. Come on down and participate – bring your friends – and visit for the whole story. It’s really cool to turn music into vegetables – no magic required, just a lot of hard work.

Before the first song...

2017-08-16 10:00:00


Bob Dekorne

Bob Dekorne

Musician, Singer

Norm Wheeler

Norm Wheeler

Musician, Singer, Songwriter, Poet, Storyteller

Chris Skellenger

Chris Skellenger

Musician, Singer, Songwriter

Mike Bensfeld

Mike Binsfeld


Patrick Niemisto

Musician, Singer, Songwriter

Signup to Perform


Are you interested in helping us out by performing during the Songathon?

We have one hour time slots during the following days and times.

Thursday, August 17, 10:00 am – 10:00 pm

Friday, August 18, 10:00 am – 10:00 pm

Saturday, August 19, 10:00 am – 10:00 pm

Sunday, August 20, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Click the button below to use our online signup app.



Through the construction of urban gardens on abandoned city lots, Buckets of Rain diminishes urban blight, rekindles hope in struggling neighborhoods, and feeds the homeless through partners like the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries and others. We have re-purposed 23 blighted lots into food production since 2013, and grown tens of thousands of servings of vegetables, free of charge, for our partners and neighbors.


The old neighborhoods of Detroit/Highland Park are home to thousands of struggling community members with little access to food and services, and virtually no access to fresh produce. Urban blight has infected these neighborhoods, opening the door for criminal activity on abandoned properties and destroying community cohesion. There are 50,000 abandoned and crumbling houses and at least that many that will be uninhabitable in the next few years.


Buckets of Rain was formed in 2006 and began by pioneering a unique type of gravity fed drip irrigation to help impoverished communities feed themselves in Lesotho, as well as areas of Kenya, Guatemala, Honduras, and Belize. Since 2012, we’ve turned our attention stateside, to struggling communities of Michigan, specifically in Detroit and Highland Parks long-crumbling neighborhoods


Cherry Republic Logo

Horizon Books



Horizon Books
243 E Front St
Traverse City, MI 49684


Volunteers for Buckets of Rain have set a World Record for the past 3 years, singing the Woody Guthrie classic “This Land is Your Land” for a record 74 hours straight. By setting up downtown, we raise the awareness for our work, receive spontaneous donations from folks passing by, and it gives us a vehicle to solicit funding from local businesses and citizens. The new record of 75 hours will be set on Sunday at Noon.

There are many ways to help.
Stop downtown and sing
Volunteer to promote the event and fund-raise
Find Musicians and performers willing to help
Donate what you can
Help by volunteering your time

No instrument necessary, no experience necessary, no talent necessary. But, all instruments have to be unamplified or very gently amplified. We have to respect the patrons and employees of Horizon Books. Plenty of hand percussion toys and lyric sheets are available. We just want YOU, beautiful you!

No, heaven's no! It's a perpetual, 42 hour, song circle made up of amateur and professional musicians, young and old, boys and girls, babies and octogenarians, folks with insomnia, chronic do-gooders, saints, and a few sinners figuring this is their last, best, chance.

Our efforts in Highland Park have created a sense of community in an area that is a fresh food wasteland otherwise. We clean up an abandoned site, plant trees, build raised bed vegetable gardens, and use local volunteers to tend the gardens and distribute the vegetables to the community, to shelters, schools and veterans programs. Last year, we distributed over 100,000 serving of fresh vegetables, and our goal is far larger. Your money supports us for the things we can’t recycle or reuse, like gasoline, nails and screws, and occasional repairs.

It reflects Woody’s support for the common folks who were suffering during the Depression, but also his deep love for his country. The verses celebrate the beauty and grandeur of America, while the chorus drove home the populist sentiment that the nation belongs to everyone, not merely the rich and powerful. Plus, pretty much the whole country knows the words!

What folks say...