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Friday, July 30, 2010

1st Annual "Guitars Over Cancer" a Huge Success


July 30, 2010
Posted By - Frank Murgia
Source Credits - Mr. Lee, Shooting16

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1ST ANNUAL "GUITARS OVER CANCER" A HUGE SUCCESS

PITTSBURGH -This past January, Mr Lee, a Pittsburgh concert and radio producer/DJ, said the success of the 1st annual "Guitars Over Cancer" concert, to raise money for cancer charities, would be measured in two ways; the amount of money raised and the quality of the entertainment. Lee reports that both were accomplished beyond expectations.

Pittsburgh's rock and blues all stars came out in full force on June 13 to honor the late, long-time Pittsburgh guitarist, Warren "Kingfish" King, who died of liver cancer in January.

Billy Price, Norman Nardini, Shari Richards, Gil Snyder, Bill Toms, Ernie Hawkins, Gary Beloma, Frank Czuri, the Granati Brothers, Kenny Blake, Don Hollowood, Glenn Pavone, James Dougherty, Guitar Zack, Marc Reisman, Craig King, and a host of others brought the house down at Altar Bar in the Strip, and helped raise almost $14,000, to benefit the Mario Lemieux Foundation, Susan G Komen For the Cure and the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.





"I've listened to, jammed with, and filmed these artists over decades, and I've never heard them play more inspired than they were that night," Lee says. "They made the gig a grand success. Everyone connected with the event donated their time and talents. Norman and Gilbert put together a great 4-hour show."

KDKA's Dave Crawley, a recent cancer survivor himself, was the emcee and introduced musical director Gil Snyder and the Mystic Knights to the stage early on, who served as the house band backing up guitarists Craig King, Don Hollowood, James Dougherty, Randall Troy and local guitar hero Glenn Pavone. Pavone is in the midst of his own personal battle with cancer.

Midway through the show, Marc Reisman and Ernie Hawkins took the stage for a brief acoustic set before harp player Reisman and guitarist/singer Bill Toms, ex-Houserockers, rocked the house. That led way to stage host Norman Nardini and his band backing up singers Billy Price, Gary Beloma, Shari Richards (with sax man Kenny Blake sitting in) and Frank Czuri, the lead singer of King's 1979 band, the Silencers.

To end the show, keyboardist Hermie Granati and his percussionist brother Rick (along with Nardini, Richards, Blake and guitar wiz Zack Wiesinger) sent the crowd into a tizzy with a 15-minute rendition of Steve Winwood's "I'm a Man," that still resonates as of this writing.

Interspersed throughout the evening were a dozen film clips projected on nine screens of Warren King and friends, all playing various gigs as far back as 1979, filmed at the time by Lee. Most of those friends were on stage to honor the Kingfish.

Some of the items donated to the cause were from the Lemieux Foundation, Blues Festival, Sportzburgh, Cha-Ching, Hofbrauhaus, Marriott, House of Two Sisters, Pennsylvania Mac, Dawn's Designs, Stray Cat Candles, Identity Salon, City Theatre, among others. They were auctioned, raffled and given away throughout the evening, which went a long way into raising nearly $14,000.

While a nice sum of money was raised that night, a greater amount donated came from the employees of BNY Mellon, who participated in supporting the event by purchasing a "jeans pass" for $50, with a $25 match from BNY Mellon corporate. A jeans pass entitles employees to wear jeans to work for four months. They did so in support of Lynn Lucchino, King’s girlfriend and Mellon employee.

Lee is playing for at least $25,000 at next years concert. "It would be great if we had no one to honor next year because no one was fighting or succumbing to cancer" he says. "Maybe these gigs will make a difference in that. And one does not have to be gone for us to honor them. Why do we have to wait to lose someone to honor them?"

To volunteer or make donations, including in-kind services and items for auction, contact Guitars Over Cancer at shooting16@aol.com

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