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Concert fights cancer

October 16, 2005|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI

alician@herald-mail.com

What's better than a big party?

A big party that helps people, Hagerstown residents Brian Marquiss and Fred Knode said.

Marquiss said he and Knode have been organizing biannual crabs and blues parties known as "Crab-Bluesas" for several years. With turnouts of around 250 people, Marquiss said they thought they might as well turn the party into a way to raise some money to do some good.

"We thought people could eat, drink, have a good time and raise some money, and we decided to do it for cancer," Marquiss said.

The idea came to fruition Saturday at the Elks Lodge, as nearly 500 people flocked to Brian and Fred's Rock-tober Music Fest. Tickets were $25, with proceeds benefiting the John R. Marsh Cancer Center.

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"One-hundred percent of proceeds are going to John R. Marsh," Marquiss said. "Whatever we get, they get."

Brian Marquiss said his brother, Kevin, is a three-year colon cancer survivor.

Attendees of the Rock-tober Music Fest received all-you-can-eat meals, all-you-can-drink draft beers and an evening-long lineup of live music. Jason Teach, Pete Lancaster, Wired, Rudy & the Bluefish, The Shades and Bone Daddy each played sets. The feature event was a jam session including members of The Shades, Rudy & the Bluefish and Bone Daddy, who playfully dubbed themselves Shady Rudy Daddy.

Marquiss said community members eagerly provided support for the event.

"Fred (Knode) and I are businessmen in Hagerstown," Marquiss said. "People got word of the party and they said, 'Well, I'm in.'"

Area distributors donated beer and soda, while Tom Borum of Hagerstown, a vocalist and guitarist with Rudy & the Bluefish, helped arrange entertainment for the evening.

"Playing music with friends for a good cause is the best of both worlds," Borum said. "Cancer's a number one killer, you know. Whatever we can do to help."

Tommy Lancaster of Waynesboro, Pa., attended the event as a roadie, providing technical assistance to his brother Pete, who performed. Lancaster said raising money for the cancer center is a cause that's close to his heart.

"We lost our sister to cancer 15 years ago," he said.

Cathy Beckley-Thomas, 51, of Hagerstown said she never had been to one of Brian and Fred's music festivals before. As next year's chairperson of the Washington County chapter of the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, she said she wanted to support the effort.

Debbie Bell, 47, of Greencastle, Pa., on the other hand, said she has gone to every one of Brian and Fred's jam parties.

"They really know how to put on a party," Bell said. "And this is one of the best because it's the best cause in the world."

Tom Borum already was looking ahead to future parties.

"I think it's a sellout crowd," he said. "Hopefully, we'll be able to do it again."

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