Athens Musicians Rally For OU Alumna

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During her time in Athens, Lauren Weldy touched the hearts of many in the local music community. Now those musicians are returning the love.

This Friday, Jackie O's Pub and Brewery will host "The Concert For Weldy," who was recently diagnosed with stage four sarcoma cancer.

Both the Brewery and the Public House stages will be packed with over a dozen musical acts, all performing on behalf of their friend.

Eddie Ashworth, an assistant professor in the School of Media Arts and Studies at Ohio University, is a co-organizer of the benefit show. He met Weldy when she enrolled in one of his music production courses.

"She has an unusually deep appreciation for the many eras of popular music, and even reintroduced me to artists from the 1950s and 1960s that I had long forgotten about…The Band and Budgie, for example," he said.

Ashworth also remarked on Weldy's musical talent, which she kept hidden for the most part.

"Lauren is a gifted musician, songwriter, singer and arranger, but ironically never performed her music while living in Athens. Like many talented people, she tends to be somewhat insecure about her abilities," he said.

Daisy Carlson, an Ohio University student and Lauren's best friend, reached out to Ashworth for help in setting up the show and booking the bands.

"Initially, I approached artists who have a 'Lauren' connection," he explained. "But others actually got in touch with us wanting to be a part of it."

Performers include Controlled Folly, Maza Blaska, Jeff Ellis, Amish Electric Chair, Corbin Marsh, Rachel Figley, Junebug, Burning River Ramblers, Hellnaw, Qiet, Broken Ring and a few special unannounced guests.

Although music will be the focus at the show, it won't be the only attraction. There will be a silent auction of goods and services from local businesses and various one-of-a-kind items, according to Ashworth.

"We'll have a signed Hot Tuna poster, artwork by Kevin Morgan and Sandy Plunkett and specially made gift baskets. Plus, we are making very attractive commemorative t-shirts that will be for sale at the show."

All money raised during the benefit go to Weldy and her family to help pay for treatments. Jackie O’s, where Weldy worked during her time in Athens, will donate 10% of Friday's sales.

Ashworth said the response to the benefit has been overwhelming, with support from The School of Media Arts & Studies, The Athens NEWS, student-run Brick City Records and several uptown businesses.

"This type of community concern and support is what makes Athens a special place," he said. "As a person, Lauren is very considerate of others, very down-to-earth and modest, quick to smile and laugh. I think that’s one of the reasons so many have stepped up to help with the benefit. She seems to have touched a lot of lives in this community."

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show is planned to last until 2 a.m. The minimum recommended donation is $5.

For those that would like to contribute, but cannot make it to the benefit, a donation site has been created in Lauren Weldy’s name at www.wepay.com/donations/lauren-weldy.