NEARLY 1,000 PEOPLE crammed into the skating rink at Optimist Park in Durand for the Durand Veterans of Rock ‘N’ Roll Benefit Concert on Saturday, Aug. 26. The event started shortly before 5 p.m., music began just after 7 p.m., and the party raged late into the evening, making the landmark event a night to remember for everyone in attendance.
The concert’s lead organizer was Bob Sager, a 1971 graduate of Durand High School who commuted back and forth this summer from his home in Florida to help coordinate the event. Also making the trip from out of state to participate in the concert were Dan Ade (Washington), Warren Brady (Georgia), Mike Jones (Tennesee), Phil Rodgers (Texas), and Alan Smith (Washington).
(Independent Photo/Graham Sturgeon)
by Graham Sturgeon, co-editor
The Durand Veterans of Rock ‘N’ Roll Benefit Concert drew music lovers from around the country to the city of Durand on Saturday, Aug. 26, with a goal of raising funds to complete the city’s Veterans Memorial Park. The collection of musicians, which included Bob Sager, Pat Carmody, Dan Ade, Rod Bradley, Mike “Jonesy” Jones, Deb Love, Terry Newman, Brandon Root, Travis Root, Alan Smith, Joe Yankee, Rick Bowden, Warren Brady, Jim Chamberlain, Wayne Kazmer, Phil Rodgers, Tom Root, Jeff Semple, and Dave Wasielski, played four sets at Durand’s Optimist Park in front of approximately 950 spectators.
Needing approximately $13,000 to cover the remaining costs of the memorial park project, the concert raised more than $40,000, which along with a $13,000 grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, will be put to use in completing the project and maintaining the park into the future. Durand VFW Commander Dennis Martin, one of the lead organizers, was blown away by the support and generosity of the community, the city, and of course, the many musicians who made the concert possible.
“This exceeded all of our expectations,” Martin said. “We still have donations coming in and there are still a couple of bills to be paid, but it is safe to say that we raised enough to complete the park and maintain the park for years to come. The city was awesome in helping us put this concert on. They made sure everything went smoothly, and there were emergency personnel from all over the area that showed up to make sure everyone was safe. The whole thing really could not have worked out better.”
The only remaining portion of the park still to be completed is the addition of a bronze sponsor board, which Martin plans to have created and installed in time for the 2018 Memorial Day celebration. And thanks to the benefit concert and all the people who volunteered to make the once-in-a-lifetime event possible, that sponsor board is going to have to be quite a bit larger than originally planned.