Monday, January 29, 2007

Phil Returns! / Rock to Relief 2


As JamBase put it:

Last February 5, at Slim’s in San Francisco, Phil Lesh participated in the Rock To Relief benefit show initiated by the students of the Branson School. Proceeds from that evening were directed to victims of Hurricane Katrina and the Pakistani earthquake. On Friday February 9 Lesh will once again appear with Rich Price & the Foundation at Slim's, for Rock to Relief II: A Benefit for Darfur/Doctors Without Borders. This is the first announced gig for the bassist since his surgery in early December for prostate cancer.

As reported in the Marin Independent Journal:


Branson students hope to raise more than $10,000 at benefit concert
Sara Morehouse

Marin Independent Journal

An idea that started brewing at a Branson School assembly about Hurricane Katrina in 2005 resulted in a benefit that raised $10,000 the next year - and could double that this time around.
The second annual Rock to Relief benefit concert is scheduled for Feb. 9 at Slim's in San Francisco.


In 2005, Branson students Brad Alvarez, Chris Campbell and Nate Mihalovich all had the idea to raise money for Hurricane Katrina and Pakistani earthquake victims, said Mihalovich, 17.
"Just to send money seemed too impersonal. We just felt like something needed to be done," he said.


The 600 tickets sold out in two weeks and raised $10,000 last year. This year, Mihalovich said that they hope to meet that and possibly double it.

The headline band, Rich Price and The Foundation, on which their faculty adviser Jeff Symonds has been a bassist since 2003, returns to perform a second time, in addition to Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead, Jeff Narell, The Joe Deveau Band, the Megan Slankard Band, the Bittersweets and student performers.

Symonds, a teacher at Branson for 16 years, organized the music.

"We are so much more prepared this year. If people enjoyed last year, they will love this year," Symonds added.

Symonds said that about half of the ticket sales last year came thanks to Lesh's fans, who were excited to see him perform locally.

"Phil is a wonderful guy; he's so giving of his time and talent in the Marin community," Mihalovich said.

Alvarez performed as a pianist and singer last year, and Campbell performed on saxophone. Campbell, though unable to help in planning this year, will be performing with the student band, 21 Aces.

This year, both Alvarez and Mihalovich will be on stage in the band Senior Explosion Ensemble.
"For me, it's another opportunity to perform, and if I can help someone while performing, that is two bonuses," 17-year-old Alvarez said.


This year, all proceeds will support the Save Darfur Coalition, an alliance of more than 170 faith-based, advocacy and humanitarian organizations that raise awareness of the Darfur genocide, as well as Doctors Without Borders, an international organization that provides emergency medical aid to more than 70 countries.

Mihalovich said they chose the charities, both focused on Darfur, because the crisis in the country has been mostly ignored by many.

"There has been a lack of press and understanding of the catastrophe where hundreds of thousands of people are being killed every month," he said.

Alvarez, student body president, said the concert coincides with Branson's annual awareness day, a day where all classes are canceled and speakers come to prompt discussion. This year, sub-Saharan Africa is the theme, and Alvarez hopes students will put their money where their awareness is and support Rock to Relief.

T-shirts, designed by Branson art teacher Eric Oldmixon and Branson senior Sophie Greenberg, will also raise funds. They feature the Golden Gate Bridge connecting California and Africa, and cost $15.

Alvarez and Mihalovich hope that the tradition is carried on after they graduate this year.
"Hopefully, it will be held up by the younger students," Alvarez said.
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IF YOU GO
Tickets for Rock to Relief are $25. Call Slim's box office at 255-0333 or the Branson School at 454-3636, ext. 274, or visit
www.virtuous.com or www.tickets.com.

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