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'Runnin' Down a Dream' at The State Theatre to Benefit Easter Seals

by and on January 25, 2014 10:45 AM

A dozen of the area’s hottest bands plan to rock College Avenue at 7 p.m. Saturday evening when the State Theatre, in conjunction with Easter Seals of Western and Central PA (ESWCPA), hosts the third annual multi-band benefit show.

This year’s show, Runnin’ Down a Dream, will feature music by rock and roll legend, Tom Petty.

“We couldn’t do without events like this,” said Liz Wainwright, Developmental Specialist for ESWCPA. “We really do thank and support the wonderful job these artists do.”

Easter Seals helps provide services to families of developmentally-challenged children.

“The early intervention we provide helps babies who might have developmental disorders stand a better chance of managing the condition as they grow,” Wainwright explained.

The State Theatre event not only helps raise much-needed funds, according to Wainwright, but it also allows Easter Seals the chance to reach out to the community and talk a bit about how they can help those who need them.

In addition to the music, the charity will auction off some rather high-ticket items, including box seats at home Penn State games, a week in Belize and a weekend at a Hershey, PA resort. And, as a special feature of the evening, Easter Seals Ambassador, 10-year-old Mitchell Case will reprise his role from last year as co-emcee.

“Mitchell’s a real ham,” Wainwright remarked.

A portion of the proceeds will also benefit the State Theatre itself which, as a performing arts venue, can always use funding.

“We’re really blessed with all the community support,” said Greg Ray of the State Theatre, “and we’re looking at some great talent here. The bands that signed up to play are dedicated to their craft and believe in the cause.”

Erin Condo, lead singer for Erin and the Hoofties, recalls watching a Tom Petty concert in the rain.

“It was an awesome moment for me,” she said.

A huge Petty fan, Condo said Petty’s music inspires her and she looks forward to this show as a chance to play with other terrific bands

“We have a strong musical community here,” she said, “but I don’t get to hear other bands very often since we all play the same nights at different places.”

Other musicians slated to play on Saturday have sentiments similar to Condo’s. The rhythmic, bluesy sound that defines Miss Melanie and the Valley Rats will also step up to the mike. Lead singer/guitarist Mark Ross says he always looks forward to an evening of fellowship with a cool group of musicians. “I’m looking forward to this show,” he said. “It looks to be a really fun gig, and they should all be like this.”

The Screaming Ducks, who will celebrate a 30th anniversary next month, will bring their classic rock style.

Lead guitarist and founding member, John Cunningham, said: “In the ‘80s and ‘90s, we were all a lot younger. Now we have families, so it’s a great opportunity to get out and enjoy the camaraderie.”

A spectrum of additional acts will participate as well. These include:

JR and Olivia, Chris Vipond and The Stanley Street Band, The Strayers, Ted McCloskey and the Hifis, Pure Cane Sugar, Grain, Eric Ian Farmer and Hannah Bingman.

Wainwright, speaking for Easter Seals, emphasizes that this event allows her organization to continue doing their work. “It puts Easter Seals on the radar,” she concluded, “and allows us to continue to provide services to the community.”

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This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Ann is an Arts and Entertainment correspondent for the Gazette.
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