The Great Grooverfest


Musician Don Groover and I have a lot in common: passion for music, printing, and design, and unfortunately, lung cancer. We are both battling the brave fight in slightly different ways. His medical bills have been piling up, so good friend Ellen Biskis put together an incredibly definitive assemblage of beloved Island musicians for a benefit bash at the P.A. Club last Sunday. Everyone showed up to support Don, someone who’s often played at benefits for others. Mostly anyone who is anyone was there to pay homage and to raise money for Don, which I heard totaled more than $5,000. The crowd was massive, and consisted of all ages and walks of life. I must have known at least half of our dedicated community of year-round music lovers who were there. Food and drink was aplenty.

Many people remarked how amazing the Vineyard is in terms of community support and outreach. Of all the music I heard (five hours’ worth), I was most taken by Sabrina Luening’s sterling set, surrounded by her backing band, aptly named the Groovers. She really made an impact when she sang “I’d Rather Go Blind” by Etta James and dedicated it to Don. Missus Biskis, Johnny Hoy & the Bluefish, Gordon Healy, Delanie Pickering, Rosie’s Ritzy Revue, the mad drummers Kevin Medeiros & Robbie Soltz, Willy Mason, Steve Tully, Rockin’ Rick Padilla, and the Black Eyed Susans were all there to wish Don the best. Happily, the sound system was more than adequate to support the glittering lineup. I left with mixed emotions — happy that the Island could provide such a magical night of music, dancing, and general revelry, yet sad that it doesn’t happen more often. It was eerily reminiscent of the early days of the Hot Tin Roof. As Joni Mitchell once said, “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” Here’s to Don Groover’s healing process!