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Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Rockin' to raise funds for homeless services

October 10, 2013|By Joe Puglia

In 1962 my brother Fred started a band called the Perfections. They were rockers. When the heat and the beat got up on a Saturday night, he brought the house down and the East Cost Swing dancers would take off and hit the moon.

I was a 15-year-old punk conscripted as an indentured servant, schlepping equipment for the band. They had a gig at Glen Island Casino, the biggest musical venue in New York. They were playing for a benefit sponsored by the New York Yankees, raising funds to refurbish Frankie Frisch Field on Mosholu Parkway in the Bronx.

All the rockers from the Bronx were there. People came for the Yankees and for Frankie Frisch Field, but mostly they came to dance.

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With Fred's saxophone hanging around his neck, his hand on its keys, he grabbed the attention of the Perfections, shouting, “One, two, a-one-two-three!”

The sax exploded! Glen Island Casino was rockin'. The Perfections brought the house down.

It's been 51 years since the Perfections played the Casino. However, the allure of rockin' on a Saturday night for a worthy cause is alive in La Cañada. On Saturday, Nov. 2, Brad Schwartz is producing Rockin' for the Homeless III. He's raising funds for Union Station Homeless Services, the largest social service agency assisting homeless and low-income people.

Brad's a homeboy from Brooklyn. Consequently I understand his commitment to service.

“I remember where I came from,” he said. “In La Cañada we're blessed; we should give back. I want my children to realize, not far from here [there are] people much less fortunate than we are. The mission of Union Station is to help the homeless rebuild their lives and end the cycle of homelessness.”

A few years back, Brad and some guys were hanging out, brainstorming about throwing a party for their friends in La Cañada. At the end of the evening, it had evolved into a rock 'n' roll shoot-out with live music and a philanthropical endeavor. Great deeds have ridiculous beginnings. They are often born in a café over coffee.

“This is a La Cañada event.” Brad said. “It was invented in La Cañada, it will be at the Thursday Club, sponsored by La Cañada residents, attended by La Cañadans, and with a La Cañada band.”

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