Alumni Rock The Park!!!

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On Saturday, August 23, 2014, Albion HS Alumni came together from near and far to play music and raise money to help rebuild Bullard Park. Bullard Park, the largest of the parks in our community, has been identified as needing about $600,000 worth of improvements and upgrades, including a walking trail, reseeded baseball fields, new bathrooms, new playground equipment, a concession stand, a spray park, among other improvements. Efforts to obtain grants and/or state funding for this project have not been successful, so the Albion Lions Club has taken the lead on working to raise money for the project. They started out by putting their money where their mouth is with a pledge of $10,000 towards the funding.

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The entrance sign for Bullard Park

Ron Albertson (class of ’77) and Dale Brooks (class of ’78) joined the Lions club almost two years ago. During one of the regular meetings, the elder Lions asked if they had any ideas for events the Lions Club could host to raise money. Ron thought of a music festival, since he is friends with many of the local musicians. After kicking the idea around and reaching out to the Albion Elks Club, the inaugural Albion Music Festival was born and dubbed “Rock The Park” to benefit the “Rebuild Bullard Fund”! The festival was held at the Elks Lodge on State Street and consisted of nine bands – most of which are loaded with AHS Alumni – for a jam packed day of music, fun, and food.

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Ron Albertson (’77) and Dale Brooks (’78) – two of the event coordinators

The event was a success! Over 200 people attended and ALL proceeds will be put in the “Rebuild Bullard Park” fund! The bands all agreed to play for free, the Elks Club supplied the venue free of charge, and all the proceeds from the food and beverages sold by the Lions and the Elks Clubs will go into the fund. There was also a 50/50 raffle and donation jars located around the venue to encourage additional donations. If anyone would like to make a donation to help rebuild Bullard Park, you can donate through the Albion Lions Club – just be sure to specify that it is to go to the “Rebuild Bullard Fund” – or you can take a check to the Village Hall and donate there – again, be sure to specify that it is to go towards the “Rebuild Bullard Fund”. The Village has a special account set up for this purpose and all funds in that account will be used on this project.

The event was so much fun! I had planned to pop in and out off and on throughout the day, but I got there and was enjoying the music so much I just stayed until I ran out of steam and had to head home! I wish I could have stayed longer because the time I did spend there was amazing!

I mentioned that nearly all of the members of the nine bands that participated are AHS Alumni. This blog post will focus on just a few of the alumni who gave of their time and talent for a great cause. I apologize to all the alumni not highlighted here……there were several other alumni in the bands that I didn’t get to see or talk to, as well as alumni working the event (and I’m sure even more behind the scenes and working prior to the event) and many alumni attended it……suffice it to say that the day was heavily supported by our generous and community minded alumni from multiple decades of AHS graduating classes – this blog just plain isn’t big enough to highlight them all!!!

When I arrived, the band ROUTE 98 was just wrapping up – what I heard from them was very good!!!

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Route 98:  Zach O’Connor (’14), Allen Sanford (’12), and Lucas Smith (’12)

(photo courtesy of Julie Church Sanford ’82)

The first band I heard a full set of and was able to talk to was DELANO STEELE. Members of this band are Dylan DeSmit (class of ’09), Alex DeSmit (AHS junior), Brad Maxon (class of ’09), and Ross Burgess (Lyndonville HS class of ’09). Delano Steele is a popular local band that have been really making a name for themselves with their impressive talent and by playing their own original music. Band member, Dylan was one of the driving forces in setting up the event and actually played in three different bands during the festival – Delano Steele, Rock of Love (A Poison tribute band), who played right after Delano Steele, and Zero, who closed out the event later in the evening.  When Dylan was asked why they wanted to be involved with this project, he said he likes doing things to support a good cause and the Elks pavilion is a great place to play!

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Delano Steele: Ross Burgess (Lyndonville HS ’09), Dylan DeSmit (’09), Alex DeSmit (AHS junior), and Brad Maxon (’09)

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Delano Steele on stage

Following Delano Steele was ROCK OF LOVE – an 80s rock legend Poison tribute band, complete with Bret Michaels and Delano Steele’s Dylan DeSmit (’09) in a blonde wig channeling the classic 1980s hair bands look!

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Rock Of Love on stage

Next up was THE WHO DATS – very popular local band that can be found on summer concert series line ups all around the county, as well as other events, benefits, and private parties – in fact, they will be closing out the OONA Summer Concerts at Marine Park series this coming Tuesday (08/26) at Point Breeze. I’m rather partial to The Who Dats because band member John Borello is a fellow classmate and friend of mine and the band just recently played at our Class of 1974 40th Reunion event. The Who Dats are known for supporting and promoting local events and other local bands.

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Representing three decades of AHS Alumni from The Who Dats:

Aaron Robinson (’97), Lonnie Froman (’81), and John Borello (’74)

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The Who Dats on stage

Next up was a New Jersey band with strong Albion ties and an incredible story of home town loyalty! When Ron Albertson was beginning to organize this event, he called his friend, Jim Benedetti (class of ’80), who now lives in New Jersey and plays in a band called THE BAD HANDS. Jim said he wasn’t sure if his band would make the trip for a benefit, but would see what he could do. Well, they gladly made the trip! And, Jim, in turn called his fellow classmate and friend, Steve Collichio (class of ’80) and asked if he would come and play with them……did I mention that Steve now lives in Dallas, TX? Steve jumped at the chance to come! They also contacted Mickey Ames (class of ’76), who popped in on his way home from vacation to play a few songs with them before he had to rush off to Fairport for a scheduled gig! How cool is that?

I spoke with Jim and Steve for a while:

Jim told me that he felt strongly about coming to support the efforts to rebuild Bullard Park because of the great memories he has of the park – he hit his first home run on the baseball fields there! He also said that it is “important to pitch in to keep the town built up”. I also asked Jim one of my standard “Take 5” questions: “What advice would you give to our current seniors and recent graduates?” His answer: “Take your time and focus. Get your education and build your vocation. Don’t be afraid to do it right.”

Steve told me that he still has family here and is taking the opportunity to see them and catch up with some old friends. He said he was happy to come and support such a great cause and also spoke of great memories at Bullard Park – he said that Coach Stackwick hired him and he worked at Bullard for a while.

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Steve Collichio (’80) and Mickey Ames (’76)

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Steve Collichio (’80) and Jim Benedetti (’80)

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The Bad Hands:  Jim Benedetti (’80), Mike Foli, John Meola, and Mike Gallemore

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The Bad Hands on stage – with guest guitarist, Steve Collichio (’80)

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Mickey Ames on stage with The Bad Hands

Other bands that donated their time and talent for the event:

WHISKEY REBELLION

PAINTED SILENCE

TERRIBLE IDEAS

ZERO

All-in-all, it was a fantastic event – a great way for alumni to pull together to make things happen and make a difference in our community!

Again – If anyone would like to make a donation to help rebuild Bullard Park, you can donate through the Albion Lions Club – just be sure to specify that it is to go to the “Rebuild Bullard Fund” – or you can take a check to the Village Hall and donate there – again, be sure to specify that it is to go towards the “Rebuild Bullard Fund”. The Village has a special account set up for this purpose and all funds in that account will be used on this project.

Posted by Kim Wright Pritt

Photos courtesy of Kim Wright Pritt

Route 98 photo courtesy of Julie Church Sanford

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