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Playing from the heart

Before jetting off to a tropical location or going home and leaving town for spring break, make sure to stop by the Maumee Indoor Theater this weekend to support a good cause. Tomorrow, local band Pitch Red will host the second annual Red Benefit concert to increase awareness about cystic fibrosis. The concert will be held at The Maumee Indoor Theater and will raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Cystic fibrosis is a chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system. In most cases, people do not survive past their 30s or 40s. The concern about this disease comes from Pitch Red band member Anna Schaeffer’s personal experience with it. In 2001, Schaeffer’s cousin Jaime died from the disease. She was only 23 years old. This inspired one of the band’s songs, ‘Jaime’ along with their passion to make a difference by planning the benefit concert. Pitch Red has been playing together for two years and recently added two new members. The current line-up consists of Anna Schaeffer on lead vocals and guitar,’ Jon Heider on drums,’ Ryant Thornsberg on bass and’ Avery Sujkowski on lead guitar. Heider, who attends Bowling Green High School while the other members attend Toledo School for the Arts, hopes to inspire anyone who is a ‘do-it- yourself’ musician. ‘We play a different style of music than a lot of the people around here,’ Heider said. ‘We just want to start something where there’s more original music going on and not so much copying off other bands.’ Inspired by bands such as David Bowie, Led Zeppelin, Muse and Radiohead – Pitch Red plans to make their band their full-time career. ‘We are planning on going on tour and playing out of town shows this summer and just basically making as much music as possible,’ Heider said. ‘We are currently working on our first CD which is in the process of being recorded now.’ Schaeffer, a junior at the Toledo School for the Arts, said gathering bands to play at the benefit concert was simple. ‘Our band is really good at networking and we try to form really good relationships with every band we come in contact with,’ Schaeffer said. ‘I can guarantee that every single band playing will be good. Tickets are only $5 because we’re targeting such a young audience and we know that they typically don’t have a lot of money. It’s just going to be a really good time for a really good cause.’ Last year the concert raised over $1,000. This year participating band members plan to exceed last year’s donations and raise at least $2,500. Pitch Red doesn’t take any of the earnings and none of the bands get paid. One hundred percent of the profit will get donated to the local Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The organization is working towards a cure for cystic fibrosis. Research is getting closer to finding a cure, but currently there is only the option of therapy or a lung transplant. With the help of donations the foundation can continue to make tremendous advances toward a cure of cystic fibrosis. The bands donating their time to this cause (in order of performance beginning at 6 p.m.) include: Stop Don’t Stop, Blank Slate, Cadence!, Hazard Perry, Resonant Soul and Pitch Red. Special guests include Tom Wade who will DJ at 5:30 and Josh Lee. ‘The fact that I’m in a band and I knew that I could do something about it is why the benefit concert is happening,’ Schaeffer said. ”Jaime’ was the first song I ever wrote when I was 11 years old, and it was the first song the band ever learned. I knew that we could do something to make a difference, and we’re really good friends with all of these bands so hosting a benefit seemed like the perfect idea.’ Keep your ears open for ‘Jaime’ by Pitch Red because Schaeffer’s cousin is the whole inspiration behind the project. ”Jaime’ is about my cousin and how she died from cystic fibrosis so young,’ Schaeffer said. ‘She was so brave toward the end when none of us were, and when I visit her grave and see the birth date and death date and how close together they are, it makes me really sad.’ The band has been planning this event since last summer and has publicized it by hanging fliers everywhere imaginable and receiving help from Shelly Francis, the senior director of special events from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Francis received Pitch Red’s press release and forwarded it to a bunch of newspapers and e-mail recipients of the Foundation. Friends and family who have lost someone from the disease are coming out to help raise money at the benefit concert. ‘We want as many people to show up to support the cause because it affects a lot of families around the area,’ Heider said. ‘With research, cystic fibrosis can be cured, and we just hope that our efforts as a band can help lead to that cure.’ Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the first band begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are $5.

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