On Oct. 24 at 6 p.m., the Sportsmens Tavern and the Cave will host the second annual’ veterans benefit for the Veterans One-stop Center of Western New York. It will feature local faves/top WNY talent: The Kensingtons, Grosh, Dave Constantino, Buffalo Blues Benefit Band (Geno McManus, Bob James, Howard Wilson and Brian Burd) along with a special all-star WNY guitarists jam with the Twang Gang.
The night is also a release event for a limited-edition (50 copies only) CD of British Invasion-themed Buffalo Blues Benefit for Veterans, Vol. 3, produced by Bob James and Geno McManus. There will also be silent auction items, 50-50, gift card wall and more.
A planning team has been working on this since last year’s event on October 25, 2018, that raised over $7,000 for five Western New York charities serving veterans.
This event will end up having taken over 200 hours in combined effort from the planning team, so the JAM took a moment to ask the musicians about their motivation.
JAM: Why do you personally PLAY for veterans?
Grace Lougen, guitarist, GROSH: “Our veterans have endured so much to protect and serve our country. I am grateful for the opportunity to take part in giving back through music, which I believe is a powerful force that can unite the community and create positive change.”
GENO McMANUS, touring musician: “I play these benefits and others. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to do what I do, so the answer to the question is ‘Why wouldn’t I’? It’s important to support and give back to the community in any and every way possible.”
MEGAN BROWN, singer, Grosh: “Using my talents to give back to a group of Americans that in my opinion are not properly taken care of when they come back home is the least that I can do.”
DAVE CONSTANTINO: “Helping our veterans in need matters most. I’m honored to have been a part of several Buffalo Blues for Veterans events. There are always great musician friends participating and it feels good to know we are raising money for a real need.”
Tim Franczak, guitar and vocals, the Kensingtons: “The Kensingtons are happy, proud and honored to play for the benefit of veterans who have sacrificed so much for our country. I have relatives and friends who have served in one branch or another and I admire their courage and appreciate their service. I also know that military duty can leave scars, seen and unseen, that may never fully heal. So this is the least we can do to show our gratitude and support.
Bob James, Buffalo Blues: “My ‘why’ is evolving. When the chaplain blessed the K.I.A. Road March in the early hours of Aug. 17 at Chestnut Ridge Park, just before we started playing music, he asked for a show of hands of the Gold Star Parents in the crowd. So many hands went up that I lost my breath. That deepened my promise to make a difference.”