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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The '1st Annual Rock and Sox Benefit for The Jimmy Fund and The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute'

The '1st Annual Rock and Sox Benefit for The Jimmy Fund and The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute' was held at The Connecticut Yankee in San Francisco on Saturday, June 26th. The Yankee, as it is known locally, is a great Red Sox and Boston sports restaurant, bar, and live music venue located less than 2 miles from the Giants' AT&T Park. The Benefit was scheduled to coincide with the Red Sox 1st trip to play the Giants in San Francisco for the 1st time in 6 years.

The inspiration to produce this event was a result of several different events occurring within a short time period. My oldest brother was diagnosed in November of 2008 with stage 4 lung cancer despite quitting smoking 2 years prior. His doctors gave him about a year to live. November of 2009 came and went with him still alive and battling his affliction. The 2010 MLB schedules were released and I saw that the Red Sox would be playing the Giants here in San Francisco in June. Fenway West had become one of the more popular Red Sox fan sites on the Internet according to RedSox100.com, and at times had been clearing 10k hits per month. Two friends, one a former band mate, were diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer and passed away earlier this year. Coverage of the 2010 Hot Stove Cool Music event that takes place in Boston each winter was published. All these events got me to scratching my head and coming up with an idea of staging a similar event as the Hot Stove Cool Music benefit, but on a smaller scale this year. I ran the idea by Matt, he liked it, and before we knew it, we realized that this benefit was actually going to happen.

I assembled a house band which I dubbed ‘The Cancer Sucks Band’, consisting of some of the finest musicians in the San Francisco Bay Area, including Pat Nevins, Mike Chase, Sam Flot, Dave Stein, Jeff Faust and myself. Red Sox fan Stu Allen sat in on a few numbers. Three of us in the band are originally from RI or MA and are Red Sox fans. The band was booked to play at The Connecticut Yankee on the only night that would allow fans to be able to attend the event without missing any of the games. Fritz Frisbie is the owner of The Yankee and a NH native. Click here if you would like to know how a Red Sox bar came to be named The Connecticut ‘Yankee.’ Susan J. Weiand, a native of Holbrook, MA and a Sox fan, is a regionally and nationally known concert photographer who donated her time to document this Benefit.

Web sites were set up to disseminate information regarding the show and to collect donations. Press releases were sent to San Francisco Bay Area and New England media outlets. The band played well. We were well received by all in attendance that night, and Fritz was happy with the total of his till.

Prizes in an opportunity drawing were given away over the course of the evening. Fritz generously donated dinner for 2 and a pair of tickets to the Sunday Sox-Giants game. We had received 3 signed balls to be part of a silent auction. The Mike Lowell ball received a generous donation of $100. The total we will have raised for The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is at $1000. Donations are still being accepted at the Rally Against Cancer web site.

As representatives of The Jimmy Fund and Rally Against Cancer, Tim Wakefield, a fine guitarist in his own right who has played at Hot Stove, and Clay Buchholz were invited to perform at the event. Realistically, I did not expect them to make an appearance, as they had already fulfilled their required public appearances. I did leave enough wiggle room to be pleasantly surprised, though.

At first, I said that I would have my hair cut on stage to be donated to Locks of Love if either of them showed up and played. By the time the show came around, I decided that I was tired of buying Drano and would have my hair cut anyhow. Many could not believe that I was serious.

Big Thanks go out to Fritz Frisbie, owner of The CT Yankee, Matt O’Donnell, owner of Fenway West, Mike DeGuglielmo of The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, photographer Susan J. Weiand, Geraldine Cohen, Sarah Hamilton, Eve-Marie and all of the band members mentioned above, especially Pat Nevins, Mike Chase, Sam Flot and Stu Allen. And of course, I must thank all who made a financial donation to The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Check back here at Fenway West for links to youtube videos taken at the show, links to the audio recordings, and links to the 2 remaining signed balls that will be auctioned on the eBay site.

The Red Sox won’t be playing in San Francisco next year, however, the Oakland A’s remain on the schedule. Once the 2011 MLB schedules are released, I will take the lessons learned from this year’s Rock and Sox event and will make next year’s even better.

Photos coming in the next post!

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