By Kitty Merrill
(click for larger version)
They collected an even $6000 from raffle tickets and donations alone. The inaugural Gregg Rickards Memorial Scholarship Fund Benefit Concert, held last Friday night at the East Hampton High School was, "a smash, an over-the-top evening of music and fun," according to organizer Patty Collins Sales.
Rickards, who died last summer, was a talented musician, with a passion for the art. Sales, who worked with Michael Clark of Crossroads Music and Dr. Marilyn Van Scoyoc to mount the event, is his aunt.
Dr. Van Scoyoc served as emcee as well as the conductor of the jazz band, which opened the show with a song featuring the electric bass, Gregg's favorite instrument. The band also played a tribute to the late Dave Brubeck.
Peter Weiss, who taught Rickards, played the electric upright bass, with John Lupo on alto sax and Jane Hastay on piano, performing the theme song to Dr. Zhivago, "Somewhere My Love." Vocalist Ashley Marie Reilly sang "What a Wonderful World."
Popular local band Little Head Thinks performed original music. LHT boasts three EHHS graduates on its roster. The next group, Casanova Frankenstein is comprised of jazz band members. They wowed the audience with a cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Crosstown Traffic."
Mama Lee Rose and Friends brought their unique sound and thrilling vocals to the venue, while the Far East Fiddle Club delighted lovers of Irish music, even prompting a couple of audience members to an impromptu seated step dance.
The EEHS Music Theory Class, led by music teacher Troy Grindle went for the smiles, with their cover of "Funky Town." Grindle stayed on the stage to surprise spectators with covers of Quiet Riot and Joan Jett hits.
Members of the duo MonkFish -- EHHS students Jackson Clark on the drums and harmony and Steven Clark on guitar -- brought a soulful vibe, with their original songs.
Jet Set Renegades, featuring more EHHS kids offered supercharged renditions of "Walking on Sunshine" and A-Ha's "Take On Me."
"That's why we are doing this scholarship program," Lisa Bonner of the popular local band, Third Estate, said when she took the stage, "Those kids were awesome."
The Tree Top Thieves closed the show on a high note with an energetic performance of original songs.
In the days leading up to the program, Sales announced additions to the donated raffle prizes. The closer show time came, the more people gave. Donated raffle prizes included a guitar and amp by Bono Custom Guitars, golf foursomes at two local clubs, a stay at the Atlantic Terrace in Montauk, framed prints by local photographer Dell Cullum and more. Crossroads Music provided technical and sound support for the evening.
The scholarship will be awarded each year to an East Hampton High School student pursuing a degree in music.