There wasn’t one empty seat this past Sunday at the Baja Bar & Grill in the Fox Chapel Yacht Club. Hundreds of locals came out to promote education, awareness and research for Lupus with their attendance of the Mary Ann Vento Memorial Concert. The event is a tribute to the mother of John Vento, front man for the powerhouse recording and performing rock-n-roll bands, The B-Men & The Nied’s Hotel Band, and a fundraiser for the Lupus Foundation of Pennsylvania.
John Vento’s mother passed away at the young age of thirty-eight due to complications from the Lupus disease. John was sixteen and a junior in high school. John Vento may be fifty-five today but the seismic shift in his life created by that loss can still be heard in the honest and raw lyrics of “Grow Up Fast” featured on “Nied’s Hotel”, released in 2004 in collaboration with producer, Buddy Hall.
“You get so scared when your mom dies young. You’re just a kid trying to have some fun. Almost thirty years since my mom died young. I’ll never know why so I gotta move on, to let it be. It’s a mystery.”
It might be thirty-nine years since the passing of his mother but John isn’t moving on without leaving his mark on the disease. On August 21, John hosted his fourth annual concert in memory of his mother, Mary Ann Vento.
“I think the event is so important to me for two reasons,” said John. “First it is a wonderful way to keep the memory of my mother alive. I still have a lot of friends and family around who loved her so it is a great way to celebrate her life. Secondly, the concert allows me in some small way to raise funds to support Lupus research and the Lupus Foundation.”
Guests who donated at least $10.00 to enter the event enjoyed a powerful performance of The B-Men & The Neid’s Hotel Band, voted Best Bar Band in 2016 by Pittsburgh Magazine. Highlights of the afternoon also included special live performances by old pals like Billy Hibbert (acoustic performer).
“This year’s event had a really great chance auction with lots of incredible items,” said John. “Jack Lambert was so wonderful to the Lupus Foundation and provided us three signed shirts and three signed footballs to auction off. We are grateful for his generosity.”
“It’s always a packed house for this concert,” said Baja Bar & Grill Owner, James (Bimmy) Joyce. “We are always happy to host this event for a very important organization and cause.”
The Lupus Foundation of Pennsylvania (LFP) remains a valuable resource for more than 66,000 Lupus patients and their families in Pennsylvania alone. The organization provides support groups, education programs, health fairs and one on one support for Lupus patients, as well as provides funding for local and national Lupus research.
“John is very generous in his support and has been a great friend to the foundation,” said Executive Director of the Lupus Foundation of Pennsylvania, Lori McCann. “His drive and ambition to raise awareness of lupus has been the force behind several events. Additionally, he will be lending his talents to our Lupus Loop 5k by coordinating the musical acts this year. We appreciate all of John’s efforts over the years to help us continue our mission of promoting education, awareness , support and research for lupus patients. We sincerely thank him for organizing the concert and appreciate all that he has done in support of lupus patients. He is a blessing to the foundation“
The feeling is definitely mutual. “I just love the Lupus Foundation,” says John. “Most of the staff has also been touched personally by the disease so nobody wants to advance research and provide critical programs and services more than they do.”
For more information on how you can join LFP in their fight to find a cure for LUPUS, visit their website at http://www.lupuspa.org/.