As more than 400 people streamed into The Rustic’s outdoor patio Thursday, September 28, for Leukemia Texas‘ fifth annual Concert for a Cure, the group’s CEO, Mandy O’Neill, sat in a “cabana” at the back of the property reviewing notes with the chairs before taking off to supervise the festivities.
Below her, guests like JB Hayes, Natalie Solis, Angela Nash with Billy Martin Jr., Roger Hendren, and Amanda and Lloyd Ward were catching up with friends and eagerly awaiting the appearance of the evening’s headliner, Reckless Kelly. Mandy, meantime, was expressing her hope that the evening’s take would at least match last year’s total of $125,000.
The aim seemed do-able, if the crowd’s enthusiasm was any indication. Up on the raised stage, Sybil Summers and Nathan Fast from AMP 103.7-FM—followed by event Co-Chairs Jenny Anchondo and Stephanie Hollman—spent time revving up the partygoers. Jenny sits on the Leukemia Texas board, the audience was told, while Stephanie successfully underwent a bone-marrow donation in May in Oklahoma City.
After introducing “Natalie,” a young woman who was having various medical problems, the chairs brought out former NFL guard Marco Rivera, who played two years (in 2005 and ’06) with the Dallas Cowboys. Marco asked the crowd to bid on tickets to the ‘Boys’ upcoming game with the Green Bay Packers, saying, “I promise you, the Dallas Cowboys will not kneel!” After Marco started the bidding at $500, the ducats went for $1,100.
Then it was time for Reckless Kelly, the much-lauded, Austin-based Americana band. The group played generously for more than an hour, sprinkling their hits with a few cover songs by Merle Haggard (“Mama Tried”) and Bob Dylan (“Subterranean Homesick Blues”). As they did, a few “swing” dancers showed off their fancy steps down in front of the stage.
They weren’t the only ones strutting their stuff. When all was said and done, Mandy reported that “it looks like we will be exceeding our event goal.” After accounting for expenses—they were roughly 8 percent of the total take—Concert for a Cure was on track to net $110,000.
* Photo provided by Mandy O'Neill ** Photo credit: Brian Maschino