Music Makes a Difference with Yorktown Leos Cancer Benefit Concert

Music Makes a Difference
Music Makes a Difference

(Published by: Yorktown Somers Patch)

Kristen Burke was four years old when her grandmother died of breast cancer. Now as a senior at Yorktown High School, Kristen has been involved with the Yorktown Leo Club benefit concert for Support Connection for the last four years since it first began.

She calls the benefit concert her “brainchild” and her grandmother – the “inspiration” for the event.

“I love music, and I really enjoy helping people,” Kristen said and added that she was thinking of how to put these two ideas together. “I hope that [my grandmother] would be proud of me for all this event has done for cancer research and support groups.”

Over the last three years, through the benefit concert, members have collected more than $8,000 for Support Connection and the American Cancer Society. Katherine Quinn, executive director for Support Connection, said many of the members of the Leo Club have had family members and friends experience cancer, so they know and appreciate how important Support Connection’s services are.

“I know they are very proud of what they do and they should be,” Quinn said. “Because of people like Kristen and the fellow Leos, Support Connection gets much needed support. They are truly helping us make a difference in the lives of people with breast or ovarian cancer. For all they do, thank you from the bottom of my heart.”

The fourth annual event, entitled “Music Makes a Difference: Concert for Cancer” will be held on March 30 at Yorktown Stage where seven local bands from Yorktown, Mahopac, Somers and Croton will be performing.

Kristen said a special group of singers from Yorktown High School will be performing the song “Seasons of Love” from the musical RENT.

“The talent really works hard to practice their set lists and throw in a few surprises for this event,” she said. “We have a special prize package for the band that sells the most tickets to support the cause.”

The prizes include eight hours of studio recording time with AFA Recording Studio in Carmel, a guaranteed spot to perform at this year’s Support Connection Walk-a-Thon in October and being a guest editor on Yorktown Patch for the day to post all of their band happenings and events. Other gifts include a $50 Sam Ashe Gift Card.

“I think this event teaches a lot to the teens of Yorktown,” Kristen said. “The members of the Leo Club love giving their time to help the community and really enjoy it. The projects we are involved in are genuinely fun and we are always immensely thanked by the organizations we work with, which is a great feeling in itself. Even though we are young, we still have a lot of opportunities to truly make a difference and better our community.”

The participating bands also learn their music can bring a community together for a good cause. Kristen said the Leo Club members appreciate every performer who has participated in the event over the past years.

Quinn, whose three of her four children had also been involved with the teen volunteer group years ago, called members of the Leo Club a “gift.” “Under the tireless leadership of Al Avitabile, these young adults prove time and time again that they are leaders with compassion, talent and dedication,” she said. “I enjoy working with teenagers, so when I first heard of the concerts, I thought, ‘Go for it. How wonderful is it to get young people involved with things they enjoy and can relate to.”

Posted in News.