Sunday, February 7, 2010

Save the Children benefit concert

Musicians including 2010 Rock-n-Roll Hall Of Fame nominee Darlene Love, The Bacon Brothers, Patty Smyth, The Bev Leslies, Tabitha Fair and Pete Francis (of Dispatch) performed a benefit concert put on by Save the Children at the Canal Room in SoHo on Feb. 4, 2010.

Hope for Haiti benefit concert


After Haiti was ravaged by a historic earthquake on Jan. 12, donations starting pouring in. While some chose to send money or texts to contribute, Deana Concilio-Lenz thought of a different way: host a star-studded benefit concert.

“Instead of writing a check, I thought it’d be better to get a bunch of local musicians together to help raise money for Haiti,” she said.

Concilio-Lenz, founder and president of production company DCL Media, partnered with the non-profit charity organization Save the Children to arrange the Hope for Haiti benefit concert held Feb. 5. The idea was born spur-of-the-moment, so the event organizers had only a week and a half to put everything together.

“It was basically me contacting every Sony client I’ve ever had,” Concilio-Lenz said. “And it was Grammys week, so it was really difficult for us. Everyone was in L.A.”

Concilio-Lenz wound up securing some big-name musicians to perform at the Hope for Haiti concert: Bacon Brothers, featuring Kevin Bacon as front-man; 2010 Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame nominee Darlene Love; Tabitha Fair, who performed at President Obama’s inauguration; Patty Smyth, former lead singer of ‘80s rock band Scandal; Pete Francis; and the Bev Leslies.

The artists donated their time and the Canal Room, a club in Tribeca, donated the space. With ticket prices starting at $20 and a table set up for additional donations, and attendance at an estimated 250, event organizers agreed it was “a success.”

“The energy in the room was amazing. They had so much fun,” Concilio-Lenz said. “There were accountants, doctors, younger people … It was a great cross-section of New York who came to show their support.”

Laura Zotian, 54, of Floral Park, N.Y., was one of the New Yorkers contributing to the positive energy in the room. Zotian snapped photos and whistled loudly when her favorite musicians came on stage.

“The music is great. What’s better than this?” Zotian said. “The musicians are amazing. As talented as they all are, they have such big hearts, too.”

Zotian said she planned to donate “whatever’s left in my wallet” at the end of the night.

“Great music. Great people. They pulled off a great, great thing tonight,” she said.

Emily Pesa, 35, of Astoria, came out after reading about the event on a church Web site.

“I wanted to support Haiti and felt this was a really fun way to do that,” Pesa said. “I thought it was great. The bands were amazing. And I was pleasantly surprised to see Darlene Love on the bill — I’ve always been a big fan of hers.”

Pesa donated $20, the ticket price, but said she planned to give more “very soon.”

But despite the fun aspect of the night, the event made sure to keep the focus on Haiti. Artists thanked attendees for their support and asked everyone to donate as much as they could.

When the Bacon Brothers were onstage, Kevin Bacon raised his arm and pointed to his blue wristband — a wristband everyone was given after making a donation— and reminded the audience to remember what it symbolizes.

Save the Children displayed photos of Haitian children continuously playing on TV screens around the club. They also videotaped the event and plan to produce a video to post on their Web site in hopes of attracting more donations.

“It’s more about awareness. And it’s also important to realize we have so much, (so) we have to give back,” Concilio-Lenz said. “It’s not just about a check. It’s figuring out how we can help these people on a long-term basis.”

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