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The Styx, REO Speedwagon and Ted Nugent tour will raise money for victims of the Boston Marathon bombings and the organization Girls Rock Roanoke.
Photo courtesy of Hannah Shaw
Tommy Shaw’s daughter Hannah runs Styx’s charitable foundation.
McClatchy-Tribune | File 2012
Ricky Phillips (from left), James Young and Tommy Shaw of Styx perform at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Denver, Colo.
Courtesy of Girls Rock Roanoke
Alexa Niles, 9, participates in a Girls Rock mini camp in March.
Saturday, April 27, 2013
Hannah Shaw practically grew up on a rock ’n’ roll tour bus.
The 25-year-old came into the world when her father, Styx guitarist Tommy Shaw, was a member of Damn Yankees, along with guitarist Ted Nugent.
“He really was ‘Uncle’ Ted to me, and he continues to be to this day,” Hannah Shaw said in a phone conversation last week.
These days, she’s back on the road, with “The Midwest Express Rock and Roll Tour” — featuring Styx, REO Speedwagon and Nugent. After the tour hits Roanoke Civic Center on Sunday, the bands are leaving something positive behind. And Hannah Shaw, who runs Styx’s charitable foundation, is at the center of it.
All of the players will autograph a guitar for a charity raffle at the show. For a $10 donation, folks who come to the concert can get a raffle ticket, or donate more and improve their odds. Three-quarters of the money raised will go toward victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. The other 25 percent will go to a local organization, Girls Rock Roanoke.
Hannah Shaw is director of Rock to the Rescue, Styx’s charitable nonprofit. And for years, she has been involved with the international Girls Rock program, which she describes as a way to use “music as a vehicle for empowering girls.”
“So we do a lot of hands-on working with the girls with instrument instruction and songwriting and such,” Shaw said. “But really, the idea behind it is to give girls a voice and to give them a platform for being heard in a way that girls are often not heard.
“Having grown up a girl in this world and knowing a lot of the struggles involved in identity and really having a comfortable space to speak out about yourself and your beliefs and your passions, it’s really really wonderful to be able to give girls that kind of platform.”
Girls Rock Roanoke is a new branch of the program, with plans for a summer camp July 8-12 at Jefferson Center. Center spokeswoman Kim Bratic said recently that the Styx foundation’s donation will help them fund scholarships for girls who can’t afford to attend.
She and Shaw said they met in March at the annual International Girls Rock Camp Alliance in Atlanta. Shaw told the Girls Rock Roanoke representative about what Rock to the Rescue is doing with local organizations and they decided to partner up for Sunday’s show.
Shaw and Girls Rock Roanoke representatives will sit at a table by the concert merchandise stand, selling raffle tickets and spreading the word about the new organization in town.
Lee Ray Costa’s 10-year-old daughter, Tallulah, wanted to go to a Girls Rock camp last year, but there was not one in the Roanoke area, Costa said. They found one in Durham, N.C., and it changed Tallulah’s life.
“It was such a transformational experience for my daughter,” said Costa, an associate professor of gender and women’s studies and anthropology at Hollins University. “She thought she would sing or play keyboards, but she came away playing drums.
“It was just really empowering. She was just really excited.”
Costa decided to start up a Girls Rock organization in Roanoke. She got Bratic on board as a volunteer publicist.
The camp costs $240, plus a $10 registration fee, and Costa plans to use the money raised on Sunday — and for the next couple of months — to fund full and partial scholarships. But Sunday is about more than fundraising.
“It gives us a chance to tell a lot more people about the project,” Costa said. “Hopefully more people will send their daughters and more people will want to get involved.”
Styx started Rock to the Rescue in 2001 to raise money for New York City’s Port Authority Police Department after 9/11, Tommy Shaw said in a recent phone conversation. (Sept. 11 is also Shaw’s birthday, he is 59). The nonprofit also helped out New Orleans and Gulf Coast residents after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. But the charity sat dormant afterward, Shaw said.
He started talking to his manager about reviving Rock to the Rescue, but it needed a leader. He brought it up with his daughter, who already had a lot of experience working with charitable organizations. They came up with the raffle drawing for an autographed guitar.
Before Hannah Shaw got involved, “we were signing these pick guards and things for people who would put them on guitars and sell them on eBay, just for their own personal profit,” Tommy Shaw said. “We had nothing to do with where the money was going.
“So we had decided to stop signing those and get into something like this, where we sign them, and sell them and then the money will go to our nonprofit.”
Hannah Shaw came up with the idea to give local organizations a share of the money they raised. In less than a year with the group, she has been a “very creative force,” Tommy Shaw said.
“What we were hoping for, she’s done four and five times that, so we’ve been able to leave donations in places where we would play, with the local nonprofit, that a lot of times is their largest donation of the year,” he said.
“I’ve always been proud of her, but to see her on the job and to see the enthusiasm she brings to this whole thing — because she really does believe in it, and she does a great job of going out and finding groups like Girls Rock to be involved with us — it winds up being a lot of fun for everybody. And our fans love it.”
Local opening act
Another unique thing this tour brings is a local opening act. At the national acts’ request, the civic center and WROV-FM teamed up for a “Rockin’ Opening Act” contest, held at Growler’s American Grill and Venue on Wednesday night. Five acts played two songs each.
Roanoke-based singer/guitarist/songwriter Adam Rutledge took the win and will open Sunday’s show with a 15-minute set that starts at 6:40 p.m. Rutledge is the frontman for a country band that bears his name.
That band also opens for country act The Farm, playing tonight at the Vinton Dogwood Festival. And on Wednesday, Rutledge and his brother/bandmate, Cary Rutledge, will open for Paul Thorn at Sidewinders Steak House and Saloon.
“It’s something that they have done in a couple other markets, and we loved the idea,” Roanoke Civic Center spokesman David Aiello wrote in an e-mail.
Aiello was one of three judges for the contest.
Rutledge, 33, wrote on his Facebook page, that he was humbled by the opportunity.
“I’ve dreamed of playing the civic center stage since I was 13, when I saw my first concert there (Lynyrd Skynyrd/Tesla/Bloodline featuring Joe Bonamassa and local guys Loud Clangin’ & Bangin’),” Rutledge wrote in an email. “So it’s literally a dream come true for me. I wish I had the whole band on stage with me ... maybe one day!”
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