Weekender

Second Winds performances to benefit Centre Volunteers in Medicine

John McDermott leads the Second Winds with a song. The band will use its upcoming performances at the American Ale House and Grill as a way to raise funds for Centre Volunteers in Medicine.
John McDermott leads the Second Winds with a song. The band will use its upcoming performances at the American Ale House and Grill as a way to raise funds for Centre Volunteers in Medicine. Centre Daily Times, file

It’s always a good time when the Second Winds come together and play, but for their latest slate of shows, they will also be performing for a good cause.

On the third Thursday afternoon of each month through the end of the year, the band members will be showcasing their talents at the American Ale House and Grill to benefit the Centre Volunteers in Medicine.

“The reaction of our shows at the Ale House has been wonderful, and it’s a real chance for us to do something for the local community,” said John McDermott, the band’s promotional assistant and guitarist. “In addition to giving the Second Winds more exposure, we are bringing some crowds to the restaurant and raising money for a good cause. It’s really been a lot of fun for us.”

Serving the region since 2003, CVM is dedicated to providing medical care for the uninsured and underinsured. After supporting Habitat for Humanity last year, the Second Winds voted to donate 100 percent of its Ale House earnings to another nonprofit organization.

“We take the cover charges from these shows and give it all to charity,” said McDermott, who has been with the band for six years. “With CVM, we really wanted to find a local charity that maybe doesn’t get as much attention as some of the other bigger charities. CVM seems to be doing a lot of good work in the community and are helping a lot of people in our area. We are really excited to be supporting CVM and are hoping that any little bit that we can send their way will make a difference.

“There are so many charities out there and only so many funds that can go their way. It’s very gratifying to be doing this,” McDermott added.

Having been performing for the past 16 years, the 14 members of the Second Winds are thrilled to be sharing the music that they grew up singing and dancing to. Although their “newer” selections are close to 40 years old, the band still enjoys turning back the clock and even manages to throw in a little school spirit before intermissions.

“We try to have a varied musical performance that spans several genres and decades. We play traditional pop like Frank Sinatra and Duke Ellington and some jazz from the ’20s through the ’50s including Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. We’ll do some blues and rock ’n’ roll every once in a while too. We want to keep that music alive,” McDermott said. “Since it’s such a part of us, we even throw in ‘The Nittany Lion’ fight song before we take our first break. That always gets people up and cheering.”

While audiences certainly seem to adore the nostalgia that accompanies the Second Winds, the bandmates themselves also thrive on the camaraderie of performing. The band is extending a lifelong passion for music and has really carved out an inspirational niche that brings joy to everyone fortunate enough to see them perform. The fact that they are helping out their neighbors in need only makes the Second Winds that much more special.

“We want to have people come out and sing along and dance to the music. We love to see the audience respond. It makes us feel so good and there’s nothing quite like it,” McDermott said. “We’re going to continue performing and helping out the community for as long as people will allow us.”

IF YOU GO

  • What: Second Winds raises money for Centre Volunteers in Medicine
  • When: Third Thursday of each month through the end of the year
  • Where: American Ale House and Grill, 821 Cricklewood Drive, State College
  • Info: http://www.crpr.org/senior/Programs/Second_Winds.html
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