Held in the ballroom of the Quality Inn in New Kensington, PA, each year during Labor Day weekend, A Concert for Anna is a three day event featuring live music, various genres of bands, and fun. They have people working constantly to make it better every year. Reina Peli , a professional photographer and the woman behind the art used to promote the event, Strobe Lighting and Sound, known for their amazing light shows on various stages in the area, and more join together to honor the memory of Anna Piroch and help each years recipients to feel the outpouring of love and support that comes from such a moving charity. The hotel itself offers a special discount for those attending, joining in the theme of support for a good cause.
It was my pleasure to be invited to the events second night by the headliner of the evening Soul Raydio, a band with an amazing sound who has been in the A Concert for Anna lineup before. They finished off the night with their rendition of Purple Rain (Live version from a different show here). It was a night of friendships and family, everyone enjoying themselves, laughter and fun moments with a serious purpose, to help those who need it. Along with the music and drinks there were raffles, drawings, sales of items such as shirts to help further donations. That night was the announcement of The Nathan Bittel Scholarship, dedicated to the young man who had recently lost his life and designed to help an Autistic youth further their education. Amid the festivities there was a heavy moment of silence for recipient, Shannon Ploskunak as she had passed just before this night in her honor. Those in attendance took a moment to mourn but spent the night celebrating their memory.
There are times that I find the best words have already been written, this is one of those times. Recently one of the large scale, weekend events in the Pittsburgh area happened. A Concert for Anna was created in 2008 when Anna Lee Piroch was diagnosed with cervical cancer. The local music community came together in support for this amazing woman who had been such a fan of their music in an attempt to help however they could but, sadly, she passed before the concert could happen.
Taken from the website for A Concert for Anna:
“In April 2008, Anna Lee Piroch was diagnosed with cervical cancer. The original Concert For Anna was put together by the local music community, of which Anna was an avid fan, as a way to help her pay her bills while she was unable to work as she battled the disease. Anna knew of the show to be held for her over Labor Day weekend 2008, and looked forward to attending.
Sadly, in August 2008, Anna succumbed to the disease… But the music community would not let her spirit die. They came together in an incredibly moving act of kindness and held the show in her honor. When all was said and done, 17 bands had graced the stage that weekend, as well as numerous local businesses donating prizes, etc., and paid for Anna’s funeral expenses.
That spirit of generosity and kindness in our local music community lives on in honor of our lost sister Anna, as a continual way to help others in our area in her name. Please help us every Labor Day weekend as we make a difference in someone’s life and ease the struggle that unfortunate circumstances can bring.”
This is what family does. I can attest to the fact that there are good people behind the scenes of this annual Labor Day weekend event. Good people with good hearts that decided to never let this part of her die, that they would keep her memory alive by giving to others in her name. She was fan and family, the crowning glory each year is when Creep takes the stage on Sunday night. I say crowning glory because all involved know that this is not just a headlining set, it’s an act of love and dedication from Creep vocalist, Michael Piroch, Anna’s brother. I’m not going to delve too far into it, he seems to stay behind the scene. What I will go into is that in the times I’ve met him, Michael Piroch has been a very kind soul, the type of person who exudes love and caring for all around him, making everyone feel special and welcome. He keeps himself from being the main focus but I felt that this was noteworthy as it places this event into a category of it’s own with the personal dedication it has behind it. I am certain that Anna must have been the same type of wonderful individual.
Find out more about this event by clicking the links in the article, maybe you’d like to help, maybe you just want to attend but one thing is for sure – A Concert for Anna needs to be something you look into. Some images I captured from this one night are below but to see the whole weekend, or the past events, check out the galleries on the A Concert for Anna website.
A Concert for Anna 11 gallery – Jana Lee Macheca / First Angel Media
Jana Lee Macheca - Lady Jaye - Is the founder of First Angel Media as well as a photographer and writer for not only her own company, but Chimera Magazine out of New York. Passionate about music and driven to help the local scene she works to connect those within it, as well as working behind the scenes on various projects. You can find her photo collection at www.firstangel.smugmug.com