A concert for a good cause


Courtesy of Julia Benedetto

A group of Cherry Hill natives perform at the concert led by East alumni, Patricia Irwin (’15).

Julia Benedetto, Eastside Community Editor

On Sunday July 16, a backyard benefit concert was held in Fox Hollow to help raise funds for cancer research. The benefit concert, Stand Up to Cancer,  was founded by Patricia Irwin, 19, who graduated from Cherry Hill High School East in 2015. She now studies musical theatre and vocal performance at Oklahoma City University. The Irwin family graciously opened up their backyard for the audience to come sit, eat and enjoy live music all while supporting a good cause.

Just over one hundred people crowded the backyard to show their support to the Irwin family and to the cause. Neighbors, family and friends could be seen with lawn chairs and blankets sprawled out all cramming in to be able to hear and see the performers. A stage was set up for the performers with a “Stand Up to Cancer” banner showcased behind it. Light refreshments and snacks were available to those in exchange for a small donation.

The first benefit concert was held back in the summer of 2015 after Irwin’s Uncle Randy passed away in January of 2015 from liver cancer. Since then, Irwin has felt the need to honor him and find a way to bring awareness to the topic.

“I knew I wanted to do something and I wasn’t sure what I could do that would make a difference, that would help my family heal and hope and bring people together, but what I do know is music so I figured I would combine those two forces and then the summer backyard benefit concert was born,” said Irwin. 

This years concert stage had around 14 different musicians perform. Some of these performers were local recording artists and others were friends of the Irwin family. Several of the performers were students who are currently studying at premiere music schools such as New York University, Temple University, Oklahoma City University, and the University of Michigan. Many of the performers are also East alumni. These performers include Michael Buono, Nick Cavaliere, Namarah McCall, Dakota Judge, Katie Aylesworth, Patrick Oberstaedt and Amanda Liu.

Alongside these talented performers, Irwin herself made a few heart wrenching  performances that were dedicated to her uncle. Irwin’s mom, Penny, did not sing but instead spoke at the event to help support the cause. All of the performances entertained the audience.

As the years go on, Irwin has become more and more familiar with the planning process.  

“The first year I threw [the concert] together in nine days, like last minute, it was so spontaneous. This year I had a lot more wiggle room in my planning,” said Irwin.

Hopefully Irwin continues to throw together this concert as this year’s benefit concert was a huge success and helped to raise close to three thousand dollars, and the Irwin family is still receiving donations. It’s a concert that’s not only for a good time, but also for a good cause.