Arundel entertainers organize fund-raisers to help colleagues in need

February 12, 1993|By Victor Alvarez | Victor Alvarez,Contributing Writer

Three years ago, Francis "Bones" Denvir, owner of Armadillo's in Annapolis, was assaulted at his bar by a burglar.

The former University of Maryland basketball player suffered severe head injuries and incurred thousands of dollars in medical bills.

A few of his buddies decided to help him out by doing what came naturally -- they put on a concert. Bands played to a room packed with friends from the local entertainment community, and when the last amp was unplugged, $10,000 had been raised for Mr. Denvir's medical bills.

The good feelings generated that night became the seed for a group called H.E.L.P.: Hospitality Entertainment Life-Support Program.

Since then, Bill Kuethe, Scott Hymes and Bob Harrison have been helping needy members of the Anne Arundel County entertainment community with parties, concerts and even golf tournaments.

H.E.L.P. is loosely knit community of 2,000 like-minded people from Anne Arundel County's entertainment and hospitality industries. Members have come to the aid of a dozen people who had heart attacks, broken arms and other injuries. They have mobilized blood drives and voter registration programs. And they have raised $40,000.

"We guide people through the process of producing a benefit," said Mr. Hymes, vice president of the group and manager of the band The Demons.

H.E.L.P.'s next good deed is set for Monday night at the Carrol's Creek Cafe in Annapolis. Restaurant owner Jeff Jacobs offered the use of his place, which normally features local musicians on Monday nights. Ten bands have volunteered to perform from 6 p.m. until midnight.

Billed as "Annapolis' Biggest Winter Concert," the event will help off set the medical expenses of area musician John Starr, who is recovering from mouth cancer surgery, and Barry Yeager, owner and operator of Panda Productions, who is recovering from a ZTC heart attack.

Mr. Starr and Mr. Yeager will attend the benefit to see their friends and colleagues present an evening of jazz, folk and rock music.

The Annapolis Vocal Corps and New Age recording artist Carol Nethen, known for her work on the television program "America's Most Wanted," will perform, along with such bands as The Jello Boys, Checkers, and Wooden Hands, and members of the Demons, Radio City and Mama Jama. Food will be supplied by the Metropolitan and Buck Distributing companies.

"A large portion of the [entertainment] population is walking around without health insurance," said Mr. Kuethe, president of the organization.

Mr. Hymes stresses that H.E.L.P. is "definitely not a union." Members of management and employees in the entertainment field are equals in the group, he said.

The group has no dues or membership fees, just people willing to volunteer to help others. If the H.E.L.P. board of directors determines it cannot conduct a benefit, the needy individual is offered an interest-free loan from the group's treasury.

"The greatest human quality is people helping each other," Mr. Hymes said. "H.E.L.P. is the vehicle."

Tickets for "Annapolis' Biggest Concert" are $10 each and are available at the door and at Mums, Middletown Tavern and McGarvey's. For information on the concert, call 263-8102.

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