Actor-Singer-Songwriter Lou Vanaria from the 1990s movie favorite “A Bronx Tale” will emcee and perform at the fourth annual “Rock Out Lung Cancer” event on Sun., April 24 at Calandra’s Il Vecchio Cafe in Caldwell. Vanaria will headline an all-star North Jersey lineup that includes A Cappella Group “Cool Change;” Singing Police Officer Tommy Scala from “America’s Got Talent;” and local favorite Singer/Songwriter John Monnecka.
“Lung cancer isn’t just a Bronx tale,” Vanaria said. “From Manhattan to Long Island, Staten Island to New Jersey, lung cancer is blight on all our communities. It is an honor and privilege to come together with all these great musicians to lend our time and talents in the fight against this dreadful disease.”
Rock Out Lung Cancer is the inspiration of Prelude to a Cure founder and West Caldwell resident Claire Mattern, a cancer survivor and classically trained pianist who wanted to combine her love of music with her strong desire to help other cancer patients.
“We are incredibly excited by the amazing array of musical talent that will perform at this year’s event,” Mattern said. “From a cappella, to Rock n’ Roll, to classic crooning, there will be something for everyone.”
In addition to the musical talent, the fun and food-filled event, which will run from 2 p.m. 6 p.m. will include a large silent auction, a sumptuous buffet and a number of special, surprise guests.
“It is incredibly gratifying how the buzz around Rock Out Lung Cancer has increased every year,” Mattern said. “Great fun, great food and a great cause – you can’t beat that.”
The one thing that has not changed over the four years of Rock Out Lung Cancer is the deadliness of the disease. According to statistics from the National Cancer Institute, lung cancer is the leading cancer killer by far—killing more than 160,000 people each year, three times more than any other cancer.
“The lung cancer statistics really struck home this year, as the Prelude family lost a major source of courage, hope and inspiration last summer,” Mattern said. “Lung cancer survivor Bonnie Walsh, who has spoken so well and poignantly at our past Rock Out events, lost her valiant fight against this horrible disease last August. Those who heard her speak will never forget her courage, warmth and conviction. We fight on in her memory.”
“As Bonnie reminded us year after year, there has been tremendous progress in the lung cancer fight,” Mattern said. “But lung cancer research remains incredibly under-funded. We can change that. The reality is that the more dollars we raise for research, the faster the progress toward a cure. Prelude was founded to address the tremendous shortfall in research funding and to support the search for promising new treatments.”
Mattern said that 100 percent of the proceeds from Rock Out Lung Cancer 2016 will go to support groundbreaking research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, one of the country’s leading institutions for cancer research, diagnosis and treatment.
Tickets can be purchased in advance for $50 at www.preludetoacure.org or for $60 at the door.
“Every year at this time, I am reminded of the line sung by the late, great English singer and musician Joe Cocker, who, ironically enough, died of lung cancer in 2014 – ‘We get by with a little help from our friends,’” Mattern said. “We hope all our friends, new and old, will join us on April 24 and offer a little help in the fight against this all-too-common and devas