Al Fest music benefit show in Honey Brook on Oct. 6

Alene 'Al' McDermott was a beloved wife, mother, friend and musician who lost her battle with cancer in September 2010. Al Fest 2012 is being held October 6 in Honey Brook and is a fund-raising event to benefit the Alene McDermott Memorial Scholarship Fund - an annual music/art scholarship for a deserving Coatesville Area High School student. Image provided.

The 2012 Al Fest, a fund-raising event which benefits the Alene McDermott Memorial Scholarship Fund, will take place on Saturday, October 6 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Honey Brook Lions Center located near the intersection on Route 10 and Mount Pleasant Road (14 Mount Pleasant Rd.) in Honey Brook.

The scholarship fund was created in February of 2011 by friends and family of local musician Alene McDermott, who was diagnosed with breast cancer and ovarian cancer in late 2006 and lost her battle with cancer in September 2010. McDermott was raised in a musical family and began performing at a very young age. She played acoustic guitar and sang in bands and at festivals, clubs and benefits. The fund created in her memory is managed by the Chester County Community Foundation (CCCF), and awards an annual scholarship to a graduating Coatesville Area High School student who will be pursuing a career in the field of music or art.

There will be four acts performing in the 2012 Al Fest. First to play is the classic rock act The Usual Suspects, followed by underground college acts The Bad News Bats and Heavy Medical, and the evening will close out with classic rock band 74/75.

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“Every band that is participating is connected to Alene in some way,” said McDermott family friend and Al Fest Committee member Jeanne Jenzano. “Alene’s daughter Liz plays in The Bad News Bats, and (Alene’s former husband) Pat McDermott plays in 74/75, which was Alene’s band.”

Admission to Al Fest 2012 is $15 at the door, with children under 12 getting in for free.

“This year’s Al Fest is a ‘bring your own beverage’ event (alcohol is permitted) and people are welcome to bring their own food,” explained Jenzano. “We will have snacks (chips, hot dogs, soft pretzels) and sodas and water for sale too.”

There will also be Al Fest t-shirts for sale for $10 and a 50/50 raffle fundraiser.

“If the weather in nice we will hold Al Fest outside at the center. There are few picnic tables, but we would ask people to bring some blankets or chairs with them for seating. If it is held indoors there are a lot of tables and chairs in the rental hall.”

A photo collage of Alene will be on display, as well as a giant paper banner from the 2011 Al Fest which was signed by attendees that the 2012 attendees are welcome to sign.

“Last year’s Al Fest raised approximately $17,000. The CCCF has been super in helping us and they were delighted at how well we did. We placed $10,000 into the CCCF endowment and have the rest set aside in an Al Fest Committee account which we have to help with future events. This year we are awarding a $1000 scholarship out of that committee account so that the endowment can continue to grow undisturbed,” said Jenzano.

The 2012 recipient of the Alene McDermott is Christina Billone, will be attending West Chester University’s music education program and plans on being a music teacher.

“Our goal for this year is to raise more money for the CCCF fund so that we can award more in scholarships,” said Jenzano. “The first year we needed to have a large event to allow for the fund the big start up. Now we are looking to put on a smaller event which will have the same feel but in a more laid back setting.”

Direct donations to the memorial fund will also be accepted during Al Fest 2012, online at http://chescocf.org/ and checks can be mailed to:

Alene McDermott Scholarship Fund

c/o CCCF The Lincoln Building

28 W. Market St., W. Chester, PA 19382

“We want to thank the Lions Club for having us,” said Jenzano. “This is a wonderful venue for a wonderful event. We also want to thank the bands for playing. Al Fest is all about the music, because that is what she was all about.”

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