For his company’s inaugural event, Tony Palmieri, of Glen Head, decided to give back to his community through the gift of music. Winter Jam, a benefit concert sponsored by T-Tonez Productions, will be held on Friday, Dec. 7, at 7:30 p.m. at The Space in Westbury. A portion of ticket sales will be donated to Fight Hard Smile Big, the Nicholas Pedone Foundation.
The Pedone family, of Glen Cove, founded the organization five years ago in honor of their son, Nicholas, who was 7 years old when he died of neuroblastoma, a rare and often deadly form of childhood cancer, in 2013. The foundation’s mission is to “deliver smiles to courageous kids fighting cancer, and encourage them to fight hard and smile big,” said Josephine Pedone, Nicholas’s mother.
“We’re always so thankful and grateful that even after so many years, we still have people who are impacted by Nicholas’s story and our journey and believe in us and our mission,” she said.
Pedone met Palmieri through the community, and has seen him and his sister, Gabriella, show their support for the cause at many of the foundation’s fundraisers over the years, including the annual 5k held each September.
“When we found out that he was managing this concert, and that he wanted to bring attention to our foundation, we were super-excited,” Pedone said.
Palmieri’s professional experience as a promoter came in handy when he was working out the logistics for Winter Jam. “I’ve been involved with a lot of foundations and charities, and a lot of times it’s always the same event,” he explained. “For this, I said, let’s do something fun and show awareness for this great cause so people can get to know [the foundation] on a larger scale.”
While working out at his local gym earlier this year, Palmieri met Chris Damphouse, of Sea Cliff, the front man of A Second Life, a local band. The group has opened for Daughtry and Quiet Riot, and most recently played the Montauk Music Festival and the New York City Marathon. This weekend the band will be headlining Winter Jam.
“We were trying to think of a way to get the music out while also trying to help a cause that we believe in,” Damphouse said. “We’re all from the local area, so we sympathize with the charity, and whenever it’s something with children, it always touches us.”
Damphouse has two children. His son, he said, used to play soccer with Nicholas. A Second Life was also a featured band at the foundation’s 5K earlier this year. “We’re doing it to help out somebody who’s close to home,” he said. “It’s nice to be able to help people you can reach out and touch.”
Along with A Second Life, three other acts will be featured: Don’t Believe in Ghosts, Chris Pepe and Armada. Getting the groups together for this important cause, Palmieri said, has been a passion project for him. “Working with up-and-coming bands to get them noticed and have people hear their music is a passion of mine,” he said. “It’s a mix of both worlds.”
More so, Winter Jam is an opportunity to help those whose lives have been affected by cancer. Palmieri’s friend, Andrew Fierstein, died in 2015 after a 14-year battle with Ewing’s sarcoma. He was 20. Through Fierstein’s treatment, Palmieri saw the effects of the disease up close. “This is always something that I’ve felt close with,” he said, “So I would do anything I could to try and help out and make children’s lives easier.”
Pedone said events like Winter Jam that promote awareness are “very much needed.” “The ability to bring awareness to childhood cancers is the most important thing to us, and it’s a global effort,” she said. “With more awareness, we can get more government funding so ultimately no child will lose their smile to cancer.”
Tickets for Winter Jam can be purchased at www.dec7thtickets.com. For more information about Nicholas Pedone and the foundation, visit http://www.fighthardsmilebig.org/.