Jam for Japan

Danielle Fox ('13), Eastside entertainment editor

Fifth grader Jon Hess raised a whopping 2400 dollars to aid the exigencies of Japan through a benefit concert, which PJ Whelihans hosted last Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

“I didn’t expect that many people to be there or to receive that much money,” said Hess who commented on the full house.

Upon entering, people were supposed to donate five dollars toward the American Red Cross International Relief funds to aid Japan. Hess’s family members and friends collected the contributions in Red Cross buckets at the restaurant’s front entrance throughout the event and sold about 100 bracelets for two dollars each.

PJ Whelihans offered their restaurant space for free and donated 10 percent of all of the food sales towards the cause. Hess said, “[The restaurant] said it was the best fund raiser they had ever had.”

The benefit concert featured the School of Rock, Hess’s music school for the past two years, and five other local bands, including The Wu, starring Hess’s guitar teacher Reggie Wu, and Mike Reisman.

Hess said, “Although we are here for a serious reason, we can still have fun rocking out with these bands.”

Hess’s passion to aid the citizenry of Japan formed as a result of his elementary school’s, Joseph D. Sharp School, fifth grade exhibition. The Sharp faculty instructed their fifth grade students to find a need in the world that they are passionate about and then to find an action to help that need.

“Jon’s a sucker for the news. He saw [the news about] Japan and got upset and wanted to do a benefit concert that would be perfect for school and the world. ” said Pamela Hess, Jon Hess’s mother.

Jon wrote numerous letters to bands, some from the School of Rock and others to local bands. By the end, so many bands had volunteered to participate that the Hess family had to go with the original picks to be just.

An avid guitar player for three years and drums player for a year, Jon said, “I really like music. I thought it would be a good idea to use my passion to help others. I picked Japan because I thought what happened there was really sad and I really wanted to help.”

Regarding the coverage from ABC News and local newspapers, including The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Cherry Hill Sun and The Courier Post, Pete Hess, Jon’s father, said, “ Jon worked really hard to pull this all together. And [the fact that] all of our friends, Jon’s friends and family [came] out is just terrific.”

“Everybody has a dream and everybody tries to use their talent. But he used his talent and his dream to help people in need and that is a tremendous undertaking for a young man and we are very proud of him at the Red Cross,” said the American Red Cross representative, commenting on Jon’s ambition.

Jon Hess’s special regard for the well-being of the people of Japan has not only produced a phenomenal benefit concert, but has shown others how a small fervor can mold itself into an efficacious action.