ROCKINGHAM — Local musician Chuck Smith will be pulling double duty Saturday evening, playing in two of five bands for the second annual Rockin’ for Veterans concert.
Smith will start the evening on bass with Simple Things — backing up brother-sister duo Jonathan (guitar) and Ashely Robinson (vocals) with Virgil Bowler on drums — before grabbing his Epiphone Les Paul and Fender Stratocaster and stepping up to the mic as guitarist and a vocalist for The Safety Committee.
Smith said his band wanted to play the show “to support those who fought (and are still fighting) for our country.”
The concert is a fundraiser by the VFW Post 4203 Auxiliary. At last year’s inaugural event, four bands raised nearly $2,000 for a World War II monument, which was unveiled in Richmond County Veterans Memorial Park on Memorial Day.
“We’re just trying to do everything we can for the veterans in Richmond County and those who are deployed,” said Robin Roberts, president of the auxiliary.
This year, proceeds are going to provide “Welcome Home” packages to group’s adopted unit, the U.S. Army 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team 1st Cavalry Division, based out of Fort Hood, Texas, which will return home in October after being deployed to Kuwait.
Roberts said the auxiliary plans to make this a yearly event, with a different military or veteran-related cause to support.
With the success of last year’s concert, Roberts said several bands approached to help out, including Moonlight Shiners, out of Moore County. Bobby Pearce has volunteered to run sound for the concert, she added.
One of the two returning bands, The Way She Goes, will look and sound a little different this year. When the band performed in 2016, it was a trio featuring John Baker (guitar, vocals) and brothers Jonathon and Colby Hildreth (bass and drums, respectively). Since then, Jonathon Hildreth has gone back to guitar, with the addition of Jason Singleton on bass and Melody Barnett on vocals.
“We are very excited that we get to participate in such a great event,” Baker said Wednesday. “The care packages really mean a lot and and I know this year will be even better than the last.”
Closing out the night will be Hardwired, a Charlotte-area hard rock cover band with Richmond County natives Philip Neal (guitar and Bub Barrett (bass) and drummer Mark McRae, originally of Anson County.
Bowler filled in for McRae last year, and may give him a break on few songs Saturday.
“We love playing for a good charity or cause and you don’t get much better than Rockin’ for the Veterans,” Neal said. “(This show is) for the veterans, which we should all be willing to support because they fought and sometimes died so we can have the freedoms we enjoy.”
Neal told the Daily Journal last year that his brothers and both his and McRae’s fathers all served in the military.
“We got involved last year by an invite from Robin and when she asked us to do it again this year, all we needed to know was when,” he said. “We are proud to do our part and will be there for the veterans again next year.”
The event starts at 5 p.m. Saturday at the VFW Post, 106 Old River Road, Rockingham. A $10 donation is requested for admission and hot dogs, hamburgers and drinks will be available for purchase.
Reach William R. Toler at 910-817-2675.