Ohio bluegrass artists are coming together to promote TonyPalooza, a benefit concert for Tony Kakaris, bass player with Nightflyer. Tony is undergoing treatment now for multiple myeloma, a stage 4 cancer whose diagnosis had been delayed by a belief that his severe pain last fall was caused by kidney stones.
Bluegrass folks in the central US have known Tony for many years. He is an avid jammer at festivals in the region, particularly Bean Blossom, where he could regularly be seen playing banjo, mandolin, or bass. He has always been quick to jump in and help out when a band is short a member, and has made many friends along the circuit.
Now he is in need covering the uninsured costs of his chemo and radiation therapy, and the lost wages associated with the effects of the procedures. Kakaris reports being exhausted most of the time, with about 2 months of the regimen still to go.
Obviously, family and friends are praying for success of this treatment, since the cancer was discovered so late in its process. Tony had been suffering from kidney stones, known to cause intense pain, but when they had been taken care of, the pain persisted. Further testing revealed 3 broken vertebrae, and the existence of the cancer in his bone marrow. Fortunately, his numbers are said to be trending in a positive direction, but he and his wife are facing mounting expesnes.
So, we have TonyPalooza, scheduled for April 6 from noon to 8:00 p.m. at the Monroe Church of the Nazarene in Monroe, OH. Several prominent Ohio bands have signed on to perform, with Nightflyer, The Clay Hess Band, and New Country Grass among them. Popular Bluegrass In The Valley radio hosts Rita Small and Tim Strong will serve as masters of ceremony, and raffles and auctions will be conducted throughout the day.
Donations in any size will be accepted as an admission fee, with all proceeds (including food sales) going to Tony’s medical fund.
All sorts of items have been donated for the auctions, including musical instruments and festival passes donated by his many friends in the business.
A GoFundMe page has also been established for those who might like to make a donation, but will not be able to attend the concert. No matter how small, every little bit helps, and is greatly appreciated.
Get well soon, Tony!