5th Annual Benefit Concert | Featuring The Fray

From America’s Mile High City comes THE FRAY, a foursome whose melodic pop-rock songs and soaring vocals resonate with sprawling tapestries and tales of hopefulness and heartache. Formed in 2002 by high school friends Isaac Slade (vocals, piano) and Joe King (guitar, vocals), THE FRAY earned a loyal grassroots following through impressive Denver area gigs and the support of local radio which led a listener-driven campaign to get the band a record contract. With strong word-of-mouth the band won “Best New Band” honors from Westword magazine and garnered substantial airplay on two of Denver’s top rock stations with a demo version of “Cable Car (Over My Head).” The band signed to Epic Records in 2004 and released their debut album How To Save A Life in September of that same year.

Considering the depth and quality of songwriting involved, the band’s rise to local prominence within the span of a year doesn’t seem so implausible. In January of 2004, THE FRAY were trying to find gigs. But by December, they were getting radio pick-up and playing sold-out shows at 500-capacity venues. In July of 2005 they were on the road supporting legendary rockers Weezer. And with the release of How To Save A Life, in September, there was no shortage of opportunities to make even more new fans. They played to sold-out crowds around the world in support of How to Save a Life which went on to sell more than 3 million copies in the U.S. Melodically charged hits and the title track worked their way onto the radio and into the hearts of fans – not to mention onto the soundtrack of TV phenom “Grey’s Anatomy.” Throw in a trio of Grammy nominations, and you’ve got the kind of out-of-the-gate explosion and meteoric rise that any young artist would envy.

On “Absolute” (off THE FRAY’s eponymously named second album released in 2009), Slade pushes his voice into new territory, exploring the upper register of his range. The pretty “Never Say Never” boasts a chugging momentum that suggests it will have a welcome home on the stage, where the group honed its chops over the past three years. King says every track on The Fray was given long, thoughtful attention – one reason the album’s creation took about a year. “We’ve spent a lot of time on each song, and I hope that shows in the record, that it’s all very balanced,” he says. “The intimate songs are special – and the same with the big, loud songs. Hopefully the fans will see that we’ve grown and changed artistically a little bit. I would hope they would listen to it and say, ‘They haven’t become different guys.’”

Five years ago, Matt Wiederkehr promised to dedicate the remainder of his life to improving the level of care for other young people with terminal illnesses. Just after he was diagnosed with stage-4 colon cancer, he was handed devastating news that would motivate him to launch Matt’s Promise. Charley Seckler, the 3-year-old son of his childhood best friend was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), an incurable disease that has struck more than 100,000 boys around the world. Matt found it unbearable to think that in just a few years, Charley may be sentenced to a wheel chair and by the time he was twenty, he would face the battle of his life as his heart and lungs began to fail. Matt drew from his remaining strength and was determined to help, not only Charley, but young people who face a multitude of life-threatening diseases. Even though he was fighting his own battle, Matt was driven to make a difference…and he has.

As we celebrate our 5th anniversary, we can stand together and feel proud of our many accomplishments. We’ve supported Charley’s Fund and made outstanding leaps into new DMD research territory, prompting researchers to explore even further with new clinical trials that are so promising for the 100,000 boys around the world who suffer from this terrible disease. We provided funds for the Matthew Wiederkehr Laboratory and Dr. Charles Craik’s Biomarker Research, which marks the progression of cancer from the development of a healthy cell into a precancerous and malignant one. We’ve funded the work of Dr. Chris Sander, who has helped to shape the interdisciplinary field of computational biology, which aims to solve important problems using mathematics, physics, engineering, and computer science. We’ve funded Dr. Thomas Weber’s colon cancer registry and Dr. Melinda Merchant’s research, which explores the development of new targeted therapies against sarcomas. We’ve created the Matthew Wiederkehr Leadership Award, held a highly successful Memory Run, and four wonderful benefit concerts. This fall, we held the Matt’s Promise bowl-a-thon.

Matt left a legacy and through Matt’s Promise, he continues to “look out for the other guy” just as he did in life. We will continue to rally to help young people who have been diagnosed with terminal diseases. Matt’s promise lives on through all of us who come together to raise funds for cutting-edge research into treatments, diagnostics, and even a cure for so many people who will be sorely missed without our help. Your attendance at this special anniversary event is more important than ever.

Advisory Board

  • Tim Armstrong
  • Lauren Wechsler Horn
  • Nancy Levy
  • Spencer Spinnell
  • Evan Wiederkehr
  • Lauren Wiesenthal

Officers

  • Randy Reiff
  • Jennifer Wiederkehr Rothberg

Benefit Commitee

  • Jennifer Budlow
  • Jodi Bloom
  • Gail Cohen
  • Lori Cohn
  • Julie Cook
  • Shari Dinowitz
  • Amy Esralew
  • Tony Fineman
  • Steve Gordon
  • Steve Gargiulo
  • Debra Gelband
  • Joe Geoghan
  • Kerri Halpern
  • Jamie JankowskiKathe Kramer
  • Jennifer Clayman Langer
  • Cliff Mendelson
  • Malcolm MacLean
  • Billy Procida
  • Lenni Sue Perry
  • Babs Reiff
  • Jason Selman
  • Tom Shea
  • Barry Sommers
  • Craig Sedmak
  • Marc Toscano
  • Neil Vogel
  • Mandi Wiederkehr