Aaron Snukals, founder of Concerts for Our Own, and long-time area concert promoter, has announced his latest series of concerts. Not surprisingly, they are to raise money for three local charities. It’s not the first time Aaron has spearheaded similar efforts. I conducted an audio interview with him four years ago about the Music Feeds concert series he spearheaded.
As much as Aaron loves music, he loves charities even more and, so, at the press conference yesterday announcing the series, he started there, calling the charities the “real stars of the show.” Thanks to sponsorships from Lexus and Toyota of Knoxville and others, 80% of the money taken in from tickets and concessions will go to the charities.
First up was Amy Hensley the local chapter Director with Special Spaces. She said, “Our mission is quite simple: We create dream bedrooms for children with cancer.” They take children up to nineteen-years-old who have been diagnosed with cancer and, with the child’s input, make their bedroom exactly what they imagine, whether it involves superheroes, princesses, or as they did recently, to bring a boy’s room up to “looking like a man’s room.” They have the families leave overnight for the volunteer-led transformation and return for the unveiling. “Taking a room from a medicinal space to a dream bedroom makes a difference in these child’s lives.”
Martin Riggins, Executive Director for the Love Kitchen, said the kitchen is excited to see what the series can do to help them feed others. Calling on the founders of the Love Kitchen, Ellen Turner and Helen Ashe, who started the effort February 14, 1986, he said they still strive to achieve their original vision: To serve the “hungry, homeless, helpless, hopeless, and homebound.” He said they have grown to the point that they provide “over 9,000 meals a month to Knoxville and surrounding communities.”
Nina Reineri, founder and president of Breast Connect, started her non-profit nine years ago. She said they assist women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, “by holding their hand from the moment they are diagnosed and walking them through their journey until they are done.” Services include providing a Facebook group where those diagnosed “can feel comfortable asking any question, no matter how personal.”
Their website offers a wealth of information “written by survivors and for survivors that educates anyone going through the disease.” They also provide “resources such as mastectomy kits,” provided without cost to anyone undergoing a mastectomy in east Tennessee. They send flowers to any women have any surgery in the region, and match women with a sister survivor. “We will walk you through your entire experience and make it easier . . . We believe this results in better outcomes.”
Dino Cartwright spoke representing Doug White, of Lexus and Toyota of Knoxville, after which Aaron announced the concerts his Concerts for Our Own will bring to the stage at the Tennessee Amphitheater.
First up, on June 15, will be “nine-time CMA musician of the year, he’s won a Grammy, and happens to be with a little band called the Coral Reefer Band, Mr. Mac McAnally. In addition to playing with Jimmy Buffet, he’s written songs for Jimmy Buffet, as well as Alabama and Kenny Chesney (both of whom took one of his songs to number one on the country charts), and many more.
On August 10, from the Rivera Casino in Las Vegas, Jay White and the The Sweet Caroline Tour, the number one Neil Diamond tribute band, will bring an eight piece band to Knoxville for their tribute show. On October 12, Here Come the Mummies, a funk group working anonymously out of Nashville for the last twenty-three years, will headline the final show in the series. Rumored to be studio musicians under contract to various labels and so, performing wrapped as mummies, the band counts among its influences Otis Redding, Sly and the Family Stone, Kool and the Gang and more.
Additionally, Aaron announced two other fundraisers presented by the organization, the first, on October 19, will take place at the amphitheater and will go to support WUTK. The second, in January, will be an Elvis birthday bash featuring an all-star local band with Elvis songs performed by “local celebrities,” raising money for another local charity.
Series tickets go on sale this Friday, March 10, with individual tickets on sale a week later, all through the Concerts for Our Own website. Please support these local charities through ticket purchases, or by going directly to their websites and looking for opportunities to donate your money or your time.