The Stocker Arts Center was the Lorain County Community College epicenter of “girl power” on Oct. 7 when it hosted the Guitars for Girls benefit promoted by the Cleveland Clinic. This program, sponsored by country music station WGAR 99.5, has been an annual event at LCCC for the past several years. The event was a benefit for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
The lineup featured country music sensations Thompson Square, Ashley Monroe, and Olivia Lane. Since meeting in Nashville, Keifer and Shawna Thompson became an instant hit and power couple as Thompson Square, taking every stage they perform on by storm. During their marriage of 16 years, they released hits that topped the charts, such as “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not” which they used as their finale at the Stocker Arts Center show. Ashley Monroe, a Knoxville native, was a bright presence who filled the center with her angelic melodies and unique voice.
Newer to the country crowd, performer Olivia Lane found herself engrossed in living the life of a singer and songwriter since the early age of six years old. Now, at the age of 24, Lane has become a successful and well known presence in the Nashville scene. In addition to her excitement about the opportunity to perform at the Stocker Arts Center, Lane spoke to something that touched all audience members’ hearts. “I’m excited for October because obviously as a girl, breast cancer awareness month is really wonderful,” she said. “I love playing my music, but when you get to do it for an amazing cause like breast cancer, it just makes it even more special.” She expressed her hope and interest in performing for the cause as well as her affinity for working with groups such as Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Positive Works. “If I could just help one person escape for three minutes while I’m singing a song, that’s what it’s all about. It’s not about me, it’s about them,” she said.
The audience was filled with a mixture of country music fans, students and their families, breast cancer survivors, and LCCC staff. Tracy Green, Interim Vice President of the college, was in attendance and gave a brief introduction at the beginning of the show. Members of the Board of Directors were also in attendance, such as Albert A. Tegel, who attended the event with his family. “We come because it’s a breast cancer fundraiser. We come because we like to donate,” said one audience member when asked about their thoughts on the show. Present were also representatives from places like the Hard Rock Café in Cleveland who support the “Pinktober” initiative and were working with their Ambassador Club to raise money for breast cancer.
The main goal of the concert was to promote and raise awareness for breast cancer research, education, and treatment. Debra Pratt, MD, the Medical Director of the Breast Center at Fairview Hospital and the Cancer Liaison physician, spoke before the concert with the motivational advice to continue being active and reduce your health risks for such diseases. “People who exercise have one third of the risk of getting breast cancer,” she explained. She went on to emphasize the importance of Lorain County becoming an even healthier city overall and stressed supporting a cause like Susan G. Komen for the Cure. With a total amount of $20,531 raised, they accomplished what they set out to do and then some. “The college feels it’s important to support these efforts,” said Janet Herman Barlow, Director of the Stocker Arts Center. Along with WGAR, Lorain County Community College has been a proud supporter of this annual fundraiser. Being community-minded and conscious of their efforts to support the cause, WGAR makes it a point to support all agencies and organizations they feel are integral to contributing to the good of the public. “It’s a great partnership,” Barlow said, “We’ve had a great relationship with them and it’s worked really well to everybody’s benefit.”
Guitars for Girls is one of the most popular and widely attended events by those from Lorain and Cuyahoga Counties, and many thanks can go to WGAR and the Stocker Arts Center for creating a compelling atmosphere that draws such a crowd every year. WGAR will also be sponsoring another event in December at LCCC where all the funds raised will go to support the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. This will take place Dec. 9 and tickets will be on sale for $30, with a select number of VIP tickets being offered for $100 as well. Participation and attendance of events such as these hosted at LCCC are a great benefit to the organizations they profit, and have become annual staples in our campus community.