Doo wop concert to benefit Rays Of Hope

By Lori Szepelak


CHICOPEE A daylong "oldies style" family festival is slated July 26 at the K of C Council 69 to benefit Rays of Hope.

Hosted by the New England Doowop Society, a fun-filled Doowop/Oldies Fun & Food Festival will include nonstop musical entertainment as well as a craft fair and classic car show. Proceeds raised from the event will benefit Rays of Hope which raises funds to improve the breast health of the people in our communities in partnership with Baystate Medical Center's Comprehensive Breast Center.

"People asked us to do an outdoor show and possibly do a show which children could attend," Bob Belniak, one of the founders of the New England Doowop Society, said. "We put the whole concept together with many events and games for children and adults to make it a fun, family festival."

Belniak formed the New England Doowop Society, along with Gary Jones in 2003, to bring to the Pioneer Valley the finest rock 'n' roll, rhythm and blues and doo-wop talent performing in the United States.

Belniak added that because he and Jones had both lost loved ones and friends to cancer, conducting a festival like this was a "logical choice."

Musical groups scheduled to perform include In Time, Route 66, The Fabulous Barons, Remember When and Glamour Girls. Additionally, rhythm and blues singer Phil Jackson and 13-year-old Courtney Pilon are slated to take the stage.

As part of the afternoon festivities, the Jitterbugs School of Social Dance will be providing free dance lessons, followed by a dance contest with certificates to win. Other events include a "best dressed '50s contest," "hula hoop competition," and "karaoke contest."

Belniak said a "huge" classic car show will also be a highlight of the fund-raiser, and will feature members of the Red Rock Car Cruisers Club.

Six microbreweries have also signed up to sell their brews including Berkshire Brewing, Burnside Brewing and Opa Opa Brewing. Picnic fare that will be available will include hot dogs and hamburgers and a host of cool treats including Italian ice and ice cream.

A host of crafters have also signed up to display their wares, ranging from jewelry, pottery and pocketbooks to scarves and marble Lazy Susans. Crafters are still welcome to sign up and may contact Belniak at 786-1929 for details.

Admission is $25 per person, $20 for society members, and half-off admission for ages 14 to 21. Children under 14 will be admitted free.

Persons attending the fund-raiser are reminded to bring lawn chairs, however, coolers will not be permitted.

The K of C Council 69 is located at 460 Granby Rd. with ample free parking.

For more information, contact Belniak at 786-1929, Jones at 478-0901 or Bob's Hobbies in Springfield at 781-2627. For the latest details on the show, visit