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First Rock for Relief concert to benefit victims of natural disasters -

by Terri Hogan

Senior Staff Writer

Local classic rock band Fifty Years After will have St. Peter’s Parish Hall rocking and rolling on March 30 when it presents a “Rock for Relief” concert to benefit disaster relief.

The concert will be held 7-9 p.m.

John Seng, bandmember and Rockville resident, said all of the donations received via Catholic Charities USA will help victims of hurricanes Florence and Michael, the California wildfires, and tornados in Alabama and Georgia.

“This will be the first-ever rock concert at St. Peter’s Parish Hall,” Seng said, adding the event is open to all.

Seng began taking guitar lessons seven years ago and never envisioned starting a rock band.

“I really enjoy playing the guitar and I was lucky enough to find four others who are completely in sync,” he said.

Seng said at a rehearsal one of the band members mentioned his church was conducting a clothing drive for victims of recent natural disasters.

“We decided it was time we organized a fundraiser of our own,” Seng said. “There have been lives lost, homes wiped away and terrible things happening to our fellow Americans.”

He and his wife Christine worked with Catholic Charities, the Archdiocese of Washington and the Rev. Thomas Kalita, pastor of St. Peter’s Church in Olney, to obtain the necessary approvals, even though Catholic parishes typically do not raise funds for outside groups, he said.

“There were a lot of hoops to jump through and boxes to check, but most of the heavy lifting is done,” Seng said. “Now we are just ready for a good time.”

In addition to Seng (rhythm guitar and vocals), Fifty Years After is comprised of bandmembers Mike Horenstein, keyboard and vocals; Dave Loughery, bass guitar and vocals; Donald Barry, drums and vocals; and Eric Zale, lead guitar.

All are from Montgomery County, including three that are alumni of Robert E. Peary High School in Aspen Hill. They rehearse in Seng’s basement studio.

Seng says they play the music they enjoy from the 1960s and 1970s, “plus a little punk and alternative.”

Seng called their music “very danceable,” including tunes by Lynard Skynard, Allman Brothers Band, The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Spin Doctors and The Cars.

The event is limited to 300 people age 21 and older and will feature food, beer and wine.

“If the hall is filled, there won’t be a person in the room that is not having a good time,” he said.

Admission is by donation, with a $15 minimum.

“Our goal is to raise $3,500, but I’m aiming higher,” he said. “Every penny raised will go to disaster relief; there are no administrative costs.”

 

St. Peter’s is located at 2900 Olney-Sandy Spring Road. Tickets are available at www.ccusa.gives/rockrelief or by texting RockRelief to 71777.

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