As COVID-19 continues impacting the lives of Americans, everything seems to be switching to online platforms: schools, jobs, award shows, and now, even concert fundraisers, thanks to the Wellness House and the Paul Reed Smith Band.
Wellness House of Annapolis is a nonprofit organization that provides a place for cancer patients and their families to learn healthy and helpful coping skills to use while dealing with the physical, as well as the psychological, effects of cancer. Since 2007, Wellness House has been providing families affected by cancer with free resources, but because of the recent COVID pandemic in March, they had to shut their physical doors.
“While we switched all of our programs to Zoom and online platforms, we were not able to hold any physical events for fundraising,” said Wellness House Executive Director Mary Jermann.
Seeing as Paul Reed Smith, of PRS Guitars, lost his brother to cancer, one of the band’s guitarists, Dr. Bill Nelson, is a cancer survivor and heads the oncology department at John Hopkins Hospital, and lead singer Mia Simone is also a cancer survivor, the Paul Reed Smith Band offered to perform a virtual concert for the organization.
“Why wouldn’t we want to be involved? We’ve lost a lot of people to this disease and Wellness House is doing all the right stuff,” Smith said. “If somebody goes to Wellness House,” Smith added, “they are well taken care of.”
Wellness House has also hired a digital strategy consulting company and experts in television and video production as well as virtual event hosting to prepare for the upcoming Rock N Roll Benefit by the Bay.
“What we have been able to do in such a short period of time is quite remarkable,” said Wellness House board of directors member Gretchen Cusack. “Where most nonprofits have canceled their public fundraisers, we transformed ours.”
The virtual concert will take place on September 24 at 7:00pm inside of the Paul Reed Smith Band’s recording studio. Everyone will be social distancing and, for all but the singer, wearing masks. Before each piece, the band will explain what each song is about, as well as the meanings behind them. Some songs will be broken down so that the audience can learn how to play the song from the band members.
“My hope is that word spreads about Wellness House and word spreads about the music, and people enjoy their viewing experience,” Smith said.
While the concert is free to the public, sponsorship opportunities are available and come with gourmet dinner and wine pick-up packages provided by Ken’s Creative Kitchen. For more information on the Wellness House of Annapolis and the Rock N Roll Benefit by the Bay, visit www.annapoliswellnesshouse.org/rnrbenefit.