How would you feel about opening up your home to host 200 people for the afternoon and dinner, rain or shine?
It' s not what Cindy Bandula Yates expected either eight years ago when she held the first "CindyStock" concert at her home north of Pittsburgh. She planned that concert as a fundraiser for the family of Mike, a good friend, who had died of pancreatic cancer. Next weekend, on July 30, she will host CindyStock 8 to raise money for cancer support services. That evolution, from a small gathering to hosting 200 people at her home next weekend, still comes as a happy surprise to Cindy.
Cindy and Ted Yates with former Pittsburgh Steeler
Robin Cole at CindyStock 6
The unusual name for the concert was chosen when Cindy Bullens was the first performer to hit the stage at Cindy's event. With two Cindys in the room, the name, a play on Woodstock, of course, seemed a natural fit.
The concept of a fundraising concert occurred to Cindy Yates after she had participated in some golf outings planned for Mike's family. "I love music and I proposed the idea to Cindy (Bullens) who had lost her daughter to leukemia at 11," she says. For the first couple of years they helped families. Then they decided to focus on helping people with cancer who were having difficulties getting screenings and services they needed because they couldn't afford them.
Last year, Cindy donated more than $10,000 to cancer support services. Her organization also holds separate fundraisers to give financial assistance help families impacted by cancer.
"Our focus is on educating people about cancer screening and being sure people can get these tests regardless of whether they have health insurance," Cindy says. "We also support smaller organizations which are providing amazing services to help people who have cancer such as the Cancer Caring Center."
Rebecca Whitlinger, Executive Director of the Cancer Caring Center in Pittsburgh, has attended two previous CindyStocks and will be there this year as well. "It's an ideal way to spend a summer Saturday -- outside, sitting on a lawn chair or blanket, listening to live performers, checking out the silent auction, indulging in great food -- an old fashioned picnic with a musical twist."
Rebecca says everyone at the concert is warm and friendly because not only are they having a great time, they are supporting necessary cancer support and screenings. She said her organization uses the funds given to them by the Yates Fund for Cancer Hope for patient support services. "We are honored to be included in Cindy's lineup" of agencies receiving funding. (For a complete list, visit www.CindyStock.org).
With the concert only a short time away, more attention will be paid to a buffet that will feed the hundreds of guests. Cindy's brother-in -law Don Sleker who loves to cook is in charge of the food, but is thankful this year that local restaurants are donating some food. CindyStock is blessed with many local sponsors, who provide food, auction items and more, thus allowing Cindy to donate more money to the cancer support services.
This year's performers are:
Incendio Band (Click here to see an interview with this band, in which they talk about CindyStock.
The Bereznak Brothers
Maura Elyse, Cindy's 15-year-old daughter, has been performing at CindyStock for the past six years. Her mom says she loves music, too, and has learned through the annual event that you can share that love with others and turn it around and use it for something else that is good.
There is still time to purchase tickets for this year's CindyStock on June 30 at Cindy's home, 2552 Wexford-Bayne Road, Sewickley, PA 15143 near the Wexford Exit of I-79 North. . Visit www.CindyStock.org.Tickets are $35, which includes musical performances, a buffet dinner and soft drinks. Be sure to bring your own chairs or blankets to sit on. CindyStock goes on, rain or shine.
Donations are also accepted throughout the year at the website. Also, check Facebook.com for the CindyStock page.
Work will begin for next year's event as soon as Cindy finishes up all of the paperwork that accompanies the July 30th event. ("I have an 11 page Excel sheet of tasks to keep me on track", she admits.) She offers to pay every musician, but they all do it for a fraction of their normal fees.
Then she will spend time this fall traveling around, attending music festivals around the country, looking for new acts to invite to perform for next year's concert. She admits this is the most fun part of the preparation for her, introducing locals to new acts. "I look for those who are both talented, but also are people who I would welcome into my home. Many have become wonderful friends over the years," Cindy says.
Every CindyStock concert ends with a candlelight ceremony
featuring the song "There's a Place in the World for a Gambler"
by Dan Fogelberg, who died of prostate cancer.