Uptown fundraising concert focuses on breast cancer aid

Uptown Music Collective, in partnership with the Community Arts Center, will present “Saturday Night’s Alright: A Concert for the Cure,” in support of Avon’s Walk for Breast Cancer at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12. The Walk for Breast Cancer, held nationwide, helps to fuel breast cancer research and supports low-income and uninsured women obtain care. The Uptown Music Collective’s goal is to raise money to send student Janaya Daniele to participate in the 24-mile walk in honor of her aunt who died of cancer last year.

The two-hour concert event will feature students from the nonprofit school of music, joined by Williamsport Area High School (WAHS)’s select vocal groups GQ and Les Chaunteuse in a celebration of the great music from the 1970s. The artists featured will include David Bowie, Elton John, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Tina Turner, Stevie Wonder and more.

“Each year our students choose a charity and put together a benefit concert to support it,” said Dave Brumbaugh, the school’s executive director. “Last year we put on the show ‘Hunger Strike,’ which raised over $5,000 for the local Meals on Wheels program. This year Janaya Daniele, a senior at St. John Neumann Regional Academy, came up with the idea of supporting Avon’s Walk for Breast Cancer in honor of her aunt. The idea resonated with many of us; my mother is a 23-year survivor of breast cancer and a 30-year survivor of ovarian cancer. I don’t think there is anyone that this cause doesn’t touch.”

“Saturday Night’s Alright” will feature performers ages 9 to 18 who have been diligently preparing for this event. Along with the live music, there will be a professional grade light and sound show organized by the students themselves. As with all Uptown Music Collective performances, the students also direct the show. There is also a group of younger students, called “Tech Monkeys” who will serve as stage technicians, spotlight operators and video operators. Janaya Daniele (St. John Neumann Regional Academy) and Gianna Rockoff (Loyalsock Township High School) are the co-directors for this performance. The student leadership committee for this show is made up of AJ Robbins (Loyalsock Township High School), Haley Miller (WAHS), Zack Chism (WAHS), Brennan Hepler (Loyalsock Township High School), Kendall Palmatier (Jersey Shore Area High School) and Cade Palmatier (Jersey Shore Area Middle School). The leadership committee is under the supervision of Uptown Music Collective Executive Director Dave Brumbaugh.

Over the past five years the collective has used their performance program to help raise money for charitable causes and organizations through its yearly benefit concert. Previous charity fundraising concerts have included: “Youth for Haiti,” in which all proceeds raised went to Direct Relief International to help the people of Haiti after the 2010 earthquake; a concert for the local nonprofit, the Children’s Development Center, called “Reaching beyond Limits;” the “Purple Heart Project,” which raised money for the Wounded Warrior Project, an organization dedicated to assisting war veterans; and last year’s Meals on Wheels benefit entitled “Hunger Strike.” Each performance raised between $4,000 and $5,000 for the intended charity.

“The benefit shows that we present are an important part of our program,” said Brumbaugh. “Through these fundraising events we teach our students the importance of giving back to their community through the gift of music.

The experience also clearly demonstrates to them the power of music to not only raise money, but to rally people to a cause and to bring much needed awareness and support to areas that need it.”

Tickets are available at The Uptown Music Collective, 848 W. Fourth St., and The Community Arts Center Box Office, 220 W. Fourth St., as well as Alabaster Coffee, 410 Pine St. and K & S Music, 1116 W. Southern Ave., South Williamsport.