Jammin' for Sam

Dana Radford and Joanne Cassidy
With their high-octane delivery of old favorites, Dana Radford (left) and Joanne Cassidy kept the crowd smiling wide and stepping wild. Photos by Ralph Stewart

Posted June 28, 2007

The Outerland was hopping Sunday night with a non-stop lineup of local musicians who played and sang their hearts out for nearly five hours in support of seven-year-old Samantha Cassidy and her family.

Two months ago, Samantha was diagnosed with a lymphoma that requires a difficult but very promising two-year treatment process, with constant trips back and forth to Children's Hospital and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston for chemotherapy.

And that's a reason to party? Well, no, actually. But then this is the Vineyard and we like to pitch in to help each other out, and why not have a good time while we're at it?

Gracious as always, Debbie Grant (center, dark dress) thanked everyone for coming out for Samantha, and still had time to let her feet have fun.

At least that's what most folks seemed to be thinking when they touched down next to the airport Sunday evening to support Samantha, her parents, Mike Cassidy and Debbie Grant, her siblings Gus and Anna Hayes and Joanne Cassidy, her grandmother Dottie Grant, and many other family members. Upwards of 300 people turned out, and donations totaled several thousand dollars by night's end.

Joanne recruited the musicians, Barry and Mona Rosenthal provided the venue, and soon enough the place boiled up into a rocking, rolling evening of fun. Dozens of musicians chipped in - Maynard Silva, The Mercy Beat, Rick Bausman and the Beetlebung Steel Band, Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish, Sabrina and Erich Luening, and the Edison Lima Band with Mike Kerr.

And with Dana Radford, Joanne came on three times through the evening, fronting a band made up of friends and local heroes, and backed up on vocals by her dad, Mike, on a couple of tunes.

I stopped by for a few minutes around 9:30, to hug a few family members and listen to a tune or two on the way home from a dinner out. Funny how a few minutes turned into a half hour, and then an hour, and by the time I remembered to act my age, midnight had come and gone. But the mood was so positive and the music so lively, getting to work on time Monday morning was the last thing on my mind. If I could transmit a bit more support to Samantha and her family by lingering a little later, fine by me.

- Whit Griswold

Joanne and Mike Cassidy
Joanne Cassidy looks for back-up help from her dad, Mike.
Maynard Silva
Maynard Silva gets into it.