Noted musicians and Bucks County Community College aspiring performers will come together in the name of keeping the legacy of Danny DeGennaro alive on Oct. 21 as part of the third annual Creative Inspiration concert at the Newtown campus of Bucks County Community College.
The nonprofit Danny DeGennaro Foundation fundraises to provide music and art scholarships to Bucks County Community College students.
Named for the late singer/songwriter and guitarist, Danny DeGennaro, who traveled the world playing with the Billy Squier Band and the Grateful Dead off-shoot Kingfish, the Foundation was established to inspire future musicians following the Levittown musician’s untimely death in 2011.
The concert features a performance by Katelyn Cryan, of Yardley, a Bucks County Community College sophomore and this year’s scholarship award winner. Johnny Betz will accompany Cryan for a song. Lisa Bouchelle & the Gyrl Band will also join her onstage.
Cryan started out playing bass, but after some vocal training and coaching at the School of Rock in Newtown, she took to singing too. She hopes to one day open her own music school.
“I love the Foundation,” Cryan said. “I think it’s so wonderful that Danny DeGennaro’s family were able to make something good come out of something so incredibly tragic.”
In addition to Cryan’s scholarship, the Foundation awarded its first Bucks County Community College Art Scholarship to Avery White, of Bensalem, a Bucks County Community College sophomore majoring in cinema/video production.
During the concert, White will show the video he filmed with DeGennaro’s song, “Gave Me an Inspiration.” Cryan is featured in the video, which White said is reminiscent of the love story in “The Titanic.”
White said he would pass by the statue of DeGennaro every day at the college, but “never really got in depth about him or his work.”
Applying for and ultimately winning the scholarship changed that.
“It essentially put me down the road discovering his music,” White said. “Danny’s music in and of itself is about creative inspiration.”
Paul Baroli, of Levittown, the lead singer and bassist for Grateful Dead tribute band Steal Your Face, was inspired by DeGennaro, who mentored him and his band.
“We just hit it off and he took me under his wing,” Baroli recalled. “He kind of told me ‘you can make a living playing music. You can do this.’ We were friends the last couple years of his life.”
Baroli and DeGennaro played acoustic sets together regularly and DeGennaro was a special guest at times for Steal Your Face. “He gave Steal Your Face credibility by standing onstage with us,” Baroli said of his band, which is comprised of members from Montgomery County and New Jersey.
As for the Oct. 21 show, Baroli said guests should expect a high-energy show featuring Grateful Dead covers, as well as DeGennaro songs.
“Whatever our set is, we want to take you on a trip just like the Grateful Dead would have done,” Baroli said.
The Creative Inspiration Concert also features performances from Ernie White & Tom Reock, as well as Jim Mitchell and the Repeat Offenders.
If you go
The third annual Creative Inspiration concert, a fundraiser for the Danny DeGennaro Foundation, will be held on Oct. 21 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Zlock Performing Arts Center at Bucks County Community College, 275 Swamp Road in Newtown. Tickets cost $10 for students; $20 for adults; and $50 for a VIP reception, which includes a meet & greet with artists and beer, wine and hors d’oeuvres. Seating is limited. Buy your tickets at Langhorne Coffee, 102 S. Bellevue Ave., in Langhorne or online at bucks.edu/tickets.