January 8, 2009

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Putting the fun in fundraising
Contry, soul and blues acts play the End Polio Now concert in Bedford
By Dana Unger dunger@hippopress.com

For many Americans, polio is seen as a disease that’s long been all but eradicated here in this country, a relic of the 1950s and ’60s, when the disease killed and crippled thousands of children. Though vaccines and aggressive inoculation drives during that time all but rid the U.S. of polio, more than 125 countries throughout the world still faced the disease.

The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International has made the elimination of polio a priority.The Rotary Club of Bedford along with club president and musician Paul Bordelaeu will present a concert fundraiser to help raise money for polio efforts on Sunday, Jan. 11, at 2 p.m., at the Bedford High School Auditorium, 47 Nashua Road in Bedford.

The concert will feature five bands and several specialty acts, from all over New Hampshire, with the goal of raising money to assist in global polio efforts, specifically in conjunction with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which awarded Rotary International with a $100 million grant. In return, Rotary International will match the ambitious grant by the end of 2010.

“Rotary has been working to end polio around the world for years,” said Ed Bordeleau, Bedford Rotary Club member and co-organizer of the concert. “The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have asked each Rotary Club all over the world to raise $3,000 to help match the grant.”

The Bedford Rotary club has lined up a jam-packed benefit concert to help meet that goal. The show will kick off with a Goffstown group, the Black Brook Band, who will play their signature traditional country, new country and classic rock sound. The band won the 2006 New Hampshire Country Music Association’s Traditional Country Band of the Year Award and the 2006 Northeast Invitational Country Showdown Traditional Country Band of the Year, and in 2007 they were honored as Traditional Band of the Year by the North American Country Music Association in Tennessee.

Other featured acts include the banjo stylings of the Amoskeag Strummers, soul and blues music from Soulhouse 7, The Rent Party Players, and the 17-piece swing era group the Freese Brothers Big Band.

Between the musical acts, there will be seven specialty acts, including ventriloquist Terri Shawver with “Grandpa,” the all- female barbershop quartet Soundscape, and dance performances.

“We have Heidi Sullivan’s dance company, Dance Vision, performing,” Bordeleau said. “All the performers are volunteering their services for this event.”

Though it promises to be an afternoon of fun and music, the End Polio Now concert is ultimately a fundraiser, one that the Rotary Club hopes will be a success not only for the performers and audience members but for their financial goal as well.

“It should be a great event,” Bordeleau said. “With 86 performances total for the event, and good ticket sales, I think we’ll meet the $3,000 mark.”

General admission tickets cost $20, senior and student tickets cost $15, and VIP tickets cost $40, which include special parking as well as a private reception after the concert. All tickets can be purchased either at the door or by calling 472-5566.