Blues fest a fundraiser for the Foundation Fighting Blindness
Share with others:
Seven blues bands and a special guest star will perform all day Sunday at the Hop House in Green Tree. The concert is a fundraiser for the Foundation Fighting Blindness.
"For the concert, we try to get the best combination of bands that complement each other," said Jonnye Weber, president of the Blues Society of Western Pennsylvania and one of the event's organizers. "The bands, made up of between two and five musicians, will perform a mix of blues in a mix of different styles."
The Jimmy Adler Band is headlining the Blues Fighting Blindness concert, which runs from 2 to 9 p.m. Sunday. Mr. Adler will represent Western Pennsylvania this month at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis.
Joining Mr. Adler on Sunday are Bubs McKeg and Chris Nacy, Midnight Express, the Igniters, Nancy McKeen Bluz Machine, Rumpshakers, Ruby Red and the Red Devils, and special guest vocalist/guitarist Sheri Richards.
"Each band will perform approximately 45 minutes, with the Jimmy Adler Band going on at 8 p.m.," said Ms. Weber, of Aliquippa. "Sheri will sit in with the others bands in the early afternoon. All the musicians are volunteering their time, but the Blues Society is inviting the media, record companies and others in the field so the musicians have an opportunity to be seen and heard, build their fan base and pick up new work."
Rob O'Friel, host of the blues show "Rollin' and Tumblin,' " will be master of ceremonies. His show airs on WYEP, 91.3 FM, from 9 p.m. to midnight every Saturday. Mark Taliani of West Deer, vice president for fundraising for the Foundation Fighting Blindness, will be the co-emcee.
Last year, the concert raised close to $1,100 for the foundation, and organizers hope to nearly double that figure this year. In addition to the $12 admission fee ($10 for Blues Society members), the fundraiser will also stage raffles, a ticket auction and a 50-50 drawing.
"The goal of the foundation is to drive the research providing prevention, treatments and cures for people affected by retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration, Usher syndrome and the entire spectrum of retinal degenerative diseases," said Mr. Taliani, an account representative for Verizon.
Mr. Taliani got involved as a volunteer with the foundation after his son, Anthony, 13 at the time, was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative condition that has left him legally blind with only about 5 to 10 percent of his normal vision. Mr. Taliani's wife, Cindy, also volunteers her time as president of the foundation's Pittsburgh chapter.
Now 25, Anthony Taliani, earned a master's degree in English education, was married last year and now resides in Hershey, where he works as an admissions counselor for the University of Phoenix.
The Foundation Fighting Blindness stages a number of fundraisers throughout the year, including an annual VisionWalk. Now in its fifth year, the VisionWalk is scheduled for Sept. 22 at the South Side Riverfront Park, South 18th Street at the park. The walk traverses roughly 3 miles along the Monongahela River parallel to the Steelers practice facility. There is no entry fee, and registration begins at 9 a.m. with the walk starting at 10:30 a.m.
Co-organizer of the Blues to Prevent Blindness concert, the Blues Society of Western Pennsylvania got its start in 2003 and has since grown to 325 members.
In addition to staging food bank benefits and taking blues events to schools and veterans' homes, the society also organizes an annual all-day blues diva show each October as a fundraiser for cancer screenings for women. The Society's PITCH (Putting Instruments In The Children's hands) gives donated musical instruments to needy school children.
"Blues to Prevent Blindness had a good first year in 2011, and we're now excited about the upcoming concerts," Mr. Taliani said. "Hopefully, we'll be able to keep it going every year from here on out."
For more information on Blues Fighting Blindness or on the Blues Society of Western Pennsylvania, call 724-888-6183.
First Published June 7, 2012 5:07 am