Jam out to benefit Alzheimer’s research at Jamzilla

GLOVERSVILLE — Locals seeking to beat the winter doldrums can enjoy hours of live music while supporting area performers seeking to beat Alzheimer’s during the 10th annual Jamzilla benefit to support Alzheimer’s research at Aaron’s Irish Pub Saturday beginning at 4 p.m.

The event started by Adam Hannis and his bandmates as a fundraiser to support a trip to perform abroad, brought local acts together at friend, Aaron Brooks’, pub for a concert and quickly became an annual event with a growing number of attendees and talented artists interested in participating.

Without any specific plans for event proceeds after the first year, Adam Hannis said organizers decided to turn Jamzilla into something positive to combat something negative, Alzheimer’s disease.

“My grandfather, Floyd Hannis, was afflicted by Alzheimer’s and it was a horrible disease to watch,” said Adam Hannis.

The disease doesn’t often garner attention from the public, said Adam Hannis, despite how common it is. Jamzilla caught on among community members whose relatives, friends or acquaintances have been touched by the disease and provided a place where people can gather together each year while raising funds for the Alzheimer’s Association of Northeastern New York to support research.

“There are 400,000 New Yorkers living with Alzheimer’s and it is the only disease among the top 10 causes of death that cannot be cured, prevented or slowed,” said Beth Smith-Boivin, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association of Northeastern New York. “Events like Jamzilla not only raise funds, but also awareness for this disease. We encourage everyone to come out, enjoy the music and help make an impact on those in our community living with Alzheimer’s and their families.”

“Because Alzheimer’s is such a horrible disease we try to make it a celebration to combat something negative,” said Adam Hannis. “It just kind of pushed the event to the next level and gave us focus, not just to have fun, but to put that momentum behind it. I think that’s what keeps people coming back.”

This year’s Jamzilla will feature live performances from Scott Seeley, Amelia Baldwin, Dustin Sawyer, The BOWOUTS, Tim Vee, Hunter Havens Band, Buffalo Hunter, We’re History, Orange Velour, Way 2 Big Band, Bad Larry and Thing from the Woods See Less.

“It’s a pretty big variety,” said Adam Hannis. “There is going to be some acoustic folk music, a little blues band combo, more funk/jam bands, some oldies and rock and roll.”

Typically the event begins with acoustic performances and smaller groups and builds throughout the evening to progressively larger and louder groups. Adam Hannis pointed to Way 2 Big Band as a crowd favorite each year that brings together a huge group of musicians playing a huge number and variety of instruments. Jamzilla also features raffles and food and drink specials.

In addition to the performers who donate their time each year to the event, Adam Hannis said a number of volunteers help organize and run the event each year including his Totally Gnarly bandmate Glen Springstead who took the lead over this year’s event, his mother Deb Hannis and friend Andi Thatcher.

“There is a large list of people that help or have helped over the years. This is a volunteer event and there is a crew of people that all help and do their parts to make it successful,” said Adam Hannis.

“I’m proud of [Adam] and all the people that have stuck with him all these years and helped it come to be,” said Deb Hannis who runs the raffle table and collects donations at Jamzilla each year. “It’s been wonderful to see a group of young adults come together and put on an event with such passion for a great cause.”

To date, Jamzilla has helped raise over $16,000 to support Alzheimer’s research. Each year proceeds are donated in honor or in memory of someone with Alzheimer’s connected to one of the performers or event organizers. The first year’s proceeds were donated in memory of Floyd Hannis.

“Alzheimer’s has touched our lives and many people’s lives,” said Deb Hannis. “There are a lot of unknowns with Alzheimer’s. The more we know, hopefully the better we can battle it.”

“Please come and support us,” she said. “It’s not only for such a wonderful cause, but it also brings all the local talent and people who care about music to a little spot in Gloversville.”

The 10th annual Jamzilla benefit concert to support Alzheimer’s research will be held at Aaron’s Irish Pub located at 231 N. Main St. on Saturday beginning at 4 p.m. The entrance fee is $5 per person. Doors open at 3:30 p.m. All proceeds from the event will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association of Northeastern New York to support Alzheimer’s research.