Rock ‘N Role-Models

| May 10, 2012

Last Saturday night I attended the Rock ‘N Role-Models Volunteers for Youth Benefit at West End Public in Downtown Chapel Hill. Volunteers for Youth is a local non-profit that supports at-risk youth in Orange County through juvenile delinquent prevention programs. Fantastic music was provided by the Franklin Street Band and Greg Humphreys, and it was the perfect way to support this wonderful cause!

West End Public did a great job hosting the event, and there was plenty of delicious food available that was all donated by Qdoba, Carolina Brewery, Vimala’s Curryblossom Café, Sage, Italian Pizzeria III and Four Corners. Wide screen video monitors throughout the venue showed photo after photo of the many ways Volunteers for Youth has contributed to our community, and their positive effect was evident on these children’s smiling faces. Chapel Hill Native, UNC Graduate, and current Police Chief Chris Blue hosted the event and even sat in on a Franklin Street Band tune, showing off his electric guitar skills.

The Franklin Street Band (L-R): Keyboardist Tim Smith, Saxophonist Jody Zeugner, Drummer Mick Mixon, Lead Singer Dawn Thomas, Bassist Ken Yow & Guitarist Thomas Hill

The Franklin Street Band definitely set the tone of the evening with their set of polished cover tunes like “Mustang Sally,” “Honky Tonk Woman,” “Chain of Fools” and “My Girl.” Lead singer Dawn Thomas might be small in stature, but she is a powerhouse when it comes to vocals. Thomas has been performing since the age of four and it shows. Her range could easily handle the lows of “Play That Funky Music White Boy” as well as the highs of Michael Jackson’s “Billy Jean” and her stage presence exuded confidence. Drummer Mick Mixon, Keyboardist/Vocalist Tim Smith, Guitarist Thomas Hill, Saxophonist/Vocalist Jody Zeugner, and bassist Ken Yow all grooved solidly, perfectly accompanying Thomas as well as holding their own during solos. This local wedding band made the evening feel like a party from the start.

L-R: Organist Doug Largent, Drummer Eric Mrozkowski & Guitarist/Lead Vocalist Greg Humphreys

For the closing act of the night, we were all treated to the music of local celebrity singer/songwriter Greg Humphreys and his newly formed organ trio, featuring Doug Largent on organ and Eric Mrozkowski on drums. I had not heard Humphreys perform live since his Dillon Fence days in the mid-90’s, when my band Plutopia would occasionally open for him, and he’s still got it! This organ trio incarnation lent the perfect mix of rock and funk to compliment the raw and ever-soulful voice of Humphreys’ perfectly. Humphreys’ original tunes like their opener “Rollin'” and “Pink Champagne” play like well-established covers, and his sophisticated guitar solos really show off the many years he has invested as a full-time musician. If you have a chance to catch his next Organ Trio show, definitely try to make it. They truly groove!

It was great to see so many locals come out to support Volunteers for Youth and the important work that they do for our youngest at-risk community members. If you were unable to attend last Saturday’s benefit, be sure to grab a bite to eat at Four Corners restaurant next Thursday, May 17, 2012, during their Spring for Charity week, as 20% of food purchases will go directly to support this fantastic organization.

For more information about Volunteers for Youth, click here to read The Chapel Hill Recorder article: “Volunteers for Youth.”

For more information about Spring for Charity, click here to read The Chapel Hill Recorder article: “Spring for Charity.”

Category: Causes

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