5TH ANNUAL ROCKIN’ KIDS FIRST- TO BENEFIT KIDS FIRST OF THE CAROLINAS
Photos by: Kevin McGee
As Andy William’s has been singing every December since the ‘60s, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year!” What makes it wonderful certainly varies from person to person, but there are a few common factors among many of us; for example, who doesn’t love that extra vacation time around Christmas, right? One of my favorite things about the holiday season is the music, and I’m not talking about hearing the same five songs on the radio station for an entire month. I mean the holiday compilation albums, the random covers artists will release, and benefit shows! A key component to this yearly tradition in Charlotte was the 5th annual Rockin’ Kids First, an event that works directly with Kids First of the Carolinas; the Charlotte-based organization provides local families with the resources and services necessary to live a happy and productive life.
Amos’ Southend and Kids First worked together on Saturday, December 3rd to put on an all-ages show with 11 bands, a raffle event, and an auction with two guitars signed by a Carolina Rebellion artist! Guests were asked to bring an unwrapped toy along with their ticket to aid Kids First of the Carolinas in supporting families this holiday season. The event started five years ago and has grown every year, thanks to community, bands on the bill, and the amazing organizers behind the project.
The history of the event is truly a heart-warming, classic Christmas tale, as told by one of the key founders of the show, Karen Corzine.
“5 years ago, The Rock U Roadshow band was scheduled to play a big benefit/Food Drive at Halton Arena on Dec 8th,” recalled Corzine. The event got cancelled last minute…. leaving us an open date and a ready set. So I called Jeff Barnes who was then running The Saloon and asked for a Saturday to do a show/benefit concert.”
Corzine’s husband suggested that the event give money to Kids Firsts because “he listens to John Hancock every year talking about what great work they do, and how it’s a homegrown 97% of the money (3% overhead only – no paychecks) to the Charity organization.”
Two weeks later, Rockin’ Kids First was born. The show was an instant hit, bringing in $500 and mountain of donated toys. Because of the love it got from the Carolina community, the event landed a weekend in December the next year and thus, the annual tradition was created. The show’s second year brought 17 bands on two stages at The Chop Shop, and the years following landed the stage at Amos’. Next year’s show?
“Who knows where it will go?” Corzine joked. It’s safe to say that regardless of where the show takes places, people will flock to good music for a great cause.
The Corzines, the brains and brawn behind the show, were nothing but full of love after the 5th anniversary!
“As the organizer of the show, my reaction is that of sincere gratitude to all that put their time and talent into making the show what it was,” said Karen. “Musically outstanding and financially the best money raiser we have had to date (official total to come as soon as we collect a few more auction item checks). We have so many people working behind the scenes who are unsung heroes of the show such as my husband Kevin, Shane Combs, Hannah Combs, Gary Carota, Nick Mattacchione, and so many who shared our post, sponsored bands and offered to play the show for free.”
As far as fundraising goes, Corzine stated that 2016 holds the title of the “best year ever” thanks to the hard work of all the bands who buckled down to get sponsors.
“Musically it was diverse with something for everyone!” stated Corzine. “Brent Hill of the Kids First Organization said the music was incredible and the crowd involvement in the drum circle with Moses Jones was, in his words, ‘visceral.'”
//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.jsEnglish, Shotgun Saints, Raisin Cain Band kept the night steady as the show reached a halfway point. Moses Jones got together again for a quick reunion too, which is super cool because, fun fact: Moses Jones played the very first Rockin’ Kids First! Finally, Halden Vang and The Dirty Soul Revival finished off the night the way it started!
What made the night even more special, according to many, was a large donation from the Lorraine Dorner Foundation.
“The biggest donation came from the Lorraine Dorner Foundation, a family who has dedicated this foundation to continuing the love and outreach of Lorraine, who always saw the good in people and believed in helping make the life of Children better at all cost,” said Corzine.
“The last minute donation of 1k by the Lorraine Dorner foundation in her memory and seeing the family in attendance and have the chance to meet them… TEARS!” recalled Shane Combs.
Lucky for you, this awesome show will be back next year! Keep your ear to the ground once 2017 dies down a bit and get yourself to the Rockin’ Kids First benefit show!
See full gallery of the night here!