Musicians and fans reach out to kids

Last year’s Musicians for Shriners concert benefiting Shriners Hospitals for Children might have fallen a bit below expectations of some people, the organizers included. That wasn’t the case this year when the second annual event, held Sunday, May 21, packed full the Kallet Civic Center in Oneida.

“Last time they struggled, but this year they really went over the top,” complimented Kallet board member Max Smith, who worked the concession stand through much of the six-hour fundraiser concert.

Several members of the Ziyara Shrine of Utica were at the event, as were Shriners Clowns Buster, Doodles, and Ku-ko. Potentate Wayne Towne said they offered all the credit for a job well done to organizers Randy Richmond, his wife Cindy Evans, and musician Paul Case, plus all of the volunteer musicians and helpers who came out that day.

“This is outstanding - what they’ve done here is enormous and they deserve all of the kudos for this,” Towne said. “They have all really done a great job in raising funds for Shriners Hospitals for Children. We expect really great things from this group in the future.”

The volunteer musicians, all obviously bringing their best efforts to the stage, included Paul Case band, the Big Easy Duo, Moss Back Mule Band, Showtime, Classified, and even some audience members who played during set-up. The cause was a close one to the tight-knit musical community, as Case’s 13-year-old daughter Katie has been a patient of Shriners Hospital burn unit in Boston since an accident at home six years ago.

Katie had just returned from a procedure in Boston the day before the concert and was unable to attend, although she was at the inaugural event last year. She will continue to make two or three trips a year to the hospital until she is 21, although she is recovering well, her dad said.

Case himself was touched by the outreach of so many people to help Katie and the children like her.

“I am a very lucky man to have this kind of support,” he said. “I don’t want to call them my ‘fans’ . . . they are my friends, and I truly appreciate them all.”

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