ALAMOSA — Nashville singer-songwriters Jeff Hanna and Matraca Berg will join Alamosa’s own Don Richmond for the 7th Annual Concert for Cancer Relief songwriter-in-the-round on Saturday, April 21 at 7:30 p.m. at Society Hall, 400 Ross Avenue in Alamosa. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The concert benefits the San Luis Valley Cancer Relief Fund. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at The Green Spot in Alamosa, The Windsor Hotel in Del Norte, or online at slvcrf.org. This event has sold out the past four years so be sure to get tickets early.
Jeff Hanna is best known for his 50-year, and counting, career as founding member, lead singer, and lead guitarist with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Hanna has been an essential force in creating a folk rock sound that changed the face of country music with songs like Mr. Bojangles and Fishin’ in the Dark. Hanna is also a Grammy-winning songwriter, co-writing “Bless the Broken Road” recorded by Rascal Flats and winning the Grammy for Best Country Song in 2006.
Nashville Songwriter Hall of Famer Matraca Berg has written for some of the biggest names in music – the Dixie Chicks, Patty Loveless, Trisha Yearwood, Randy Travis, Linda Rondstadt, and Suzy Bogguss to name a few. Several of her singles have topped the country charts, including Reba McEntire’s cover of “The Last One to Know” and Patty Loveless’s “You Can Feel Bad.” She has released seven of her own albums to both popular and critical acclaim. Jeff and Matraca are traveling to Alamosa from their home in Nashville for one of the truly magical musical nights in Alamosa.
Richmond has been playing music for more than 45 years and has been described as “practically peerless as a picker, singer, producer, and arranger.” Richmond is a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer who plays just about anything with strings and because of this, is often in demand to accompany musicians touring Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas, besides performing with his band The Rifters and as a solo act. Richmond is also part-owner in Howlin’ Dog Records, a small independent label producing music that he calls “Southwest Americana.”
Richmond has become a staple of the annual concert having been through the cancer journey himself. “I received incredible community support when I was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer. When Teri (McCartney, currently treasurer of SLVCRF) became a board member and asked me to help with a fundraiser, it seemed like a great way to give back to this community that supported me in so many ways while I dealt with cancer,” Richmond says. “I’ll never be able to pay it all back, but it sure feels good to try.”
The SLVCRF acts as a channel, collecting money through fundraisers and memberships, and then passing that on to local cancer patients. Founded in 2006, the organization continues to grow. In 2006 only six stipends were given to patients. In 2017, that number had increased to 87, and in 2016, the board was able to increase the stipend from $200 to $300. The annual Concert for Cancer Relief is the organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year. “Cancer touches all of us” said McCartney. “We all know and love someone who has been diagnosed with cancer. It’s not an easy journey and being able to give even this small stipend shows support and love from the community. It’s a joy to assist this organization.”
SLVCRF President Tracy Doyle states, “All of the money stays right here in the Valley going directly to cancer patients. We are proud of that!” The SLVCRF is a totally volunteer organization with a six-member board of dedicated women who have themselves been touched by cancer and want to help others in that journey. The bulk of funds raised comes from individual/family memberships and fundraisers like the Concert for Cancer Relief.
Individuals wishing to become members can send a check to the San Luis Valley Cancer Relief Fund, PO Box 1297, Alamosa, CO, 81101. Businesses that wish to become concert sponsors can contact McCartney at [email protected] or at 719-588-3452. The deadline for business sponsorship is April 18.
Captions: Don Richmond