‘A Concert for Anna’ continues goodwill effort
“Pay it forward” isn’t just a sweet sentiment for the folks behind the annual “A Concert for Anna.”
It’s a way of life for the musicians and many others, volunteers all, who keep the spirit of watching their neighbors’ backs in various ways alive throughout the year.
The public spotlight on their giving nature is illuminated the brightest over the long Labor Day weekend with the “A Concert for Anna,” this year celebrating its landmark 10th anniversary Sept 1-3 in the Quality Inn, New Kensington, ballroom.
It features 15 bands representing a variety of rock, pop, funk and other genres from throughout the Alle-Kiski Valley and Southwestern Pennsylvania, all donating their time to address the health care needs for the Alle-Kiski Valley families of Devin Raynovich, a 2016 Valley High School graduate, and Daneen King, a 1990 Highlands High graduate.
Raynovich had two surgeries this year to remove a tumor and for follow-up reconstruction.
King, who has Stage 4 terminal cancer, is the mother of four children.
A new addition to the fundraiser is a charity motorcycle Bike Run at 1 p.m. Sept. 2, starting and finishing at the Quality Inn.
“My sister would have been very proud of what we’ve accomplished in her name, I’m sure. She always loved this kind of thing. And personally it feels like she’s here with us every time we do this,” says musician Mike Piroch of New Kensington, founder of “A Concert for Anna” and a performer in it.
When 28-year-old grocery clerk Anna Piroch of West Deer, an avid supporter of Alle-Kiski Valley bands, died after a battle with cancer Aug. 4, 2008, without life insurance, musicians rose to the occasion with the first “A Concert for Anna” to cover funeral and medical expenses.
“We were overwhelmed with the support we received from the community,” says her brother Scott Piroch. “Our plan was that the second year we wanted to donate the money to a cancer charity in Anna’s name. However, we found that there were so many families in need. We decided to keep it going as long as we could and help local families going through the same struggles as we did. Year after year, we continued to grow.
“We have never lost focus of the meaning: to help families in Anna’s name, just like our family was helped. Anna was such a ball of life and energy. I think that she would be so happy to see that we are helping local families while having tons of fun during this event, all in her name.”
The event’s fans are “incredibly loyal,” adds Scott Piroch. “Many of them have been here for all 10 years. The lineup of bands is as strong as ever.”
Shawn Maudhuit of West Deer, front man of the ’80s tribute band Ferris Bueller’s Revenge, has been part of the series every year but one.
“This event means a lot to us, first and foremost because the proceeds go to a great cause. It’s an honor to be asked to be included to play with such talented and seasoned musicians,” he says. “The best of the best are involved with this event. It has grown so much through the years and we hope to be back for as long as they still want us.”
“We’re very proud of the fact that for 10 years now people have thought this was something worthwhile to participate in and contribute to,” says Mike Piroch.
Rex Rutkoski is a Tribune-Review staff writer.