In memory of 2006 East Hampton High School grad Gregg Lee Rickards – who passed away last summer after a battle with cancer – hundreds of people showed up at a fundraising concert Friday night, which raised over $6,000.
Rickards performed with the East Hampton High jazz band and studied music at the State University of New York at Oneonta, where he played the stand-up and electric bass. But after he passed away last summer following a bout with cancer, at the age of 23, family and friends rallied to hold a benefit concert in his name.
So many rallied, in fact, that some musicians had to be turned away from the performance.
"Everybody came and said, 'We want to do this.' We had to turn away people" said Michael Clark, owner of Amagansett's Crossroads Music. Clark, along with East Hampton High School music teacher Marilyn Van Scoyoc, organized the 13 bands that played on Friday night. Styles ranged from classic rock, to ska, to Rickards' favorite style of all: jazz.
"It's so indicative of the musical community. And it absolutely blows my mind where their heart is. It's always in the right place" said Clark, who himself offered up a Fender guitar that Tom Bono refurbished and painted up for raffle.
Patty Collins Sales, Rickards' aunt, organized much of the event – the first concert in Rickards' memory – and said that on Friday, though people were coming and going to the concert throughout the night, all in all close to 300 people came. While about $6,000 was taken in the night of the event, closer to $7,000 had come in by Monday morning.
While the thought was originally to offer a scholarship to an EHHS student interested in music, raising that much money wasn't quite expected, so exactly how all of the donations will be used has yet to be determined.
"This is above and beyond what we expected," Sales said. "We had no idea it was going to be this big."