Ocean City Today

Christmas concert to keep children off drugs organized

By Katie Tabeling | Aug 24, 2017

(Aug. 25, 2017) Tony Christ and several local musicians have launched a fundraising effort to host a children’s Christmas concert this winter to aid in the prevention of drug abuse.

“We think that if we put out music, we can bypass a lecture. If we’re successful in raising money for a show, we will sponsor kids in our county, in Wicomico and Somerset to have them come to the Performing Arts Center to see a show,” Christ said during Monday’s council session.

Christ and musicians John Abella, Melissa Alesi, Ken Cicerale, Dennis Crawford and Lauren Glick released “Brian’s Christmas Songbook” last year, with the goal to donate a dollar from each sale to drug rehabilitation services.

The album is named after Christ’s 22-year-old son, Brian, who died from a drug overdose in 2004.

Christ said filed for 510(c)3 status to help send a message to young children that heroin can be deadly. The Maryland Behavioral Health Administration reported between January and March, there were 266 heroin intoxication deaths and 372 fentanyl-related deaths in Maryland. Of that total, Worcester County had two fatal heroin overdoses and three fentanyl-related deaths.

“Our focus is kids between 6 to 12, and their minds are like sponges. They’ll sop it up and carry it with them,” Christ said. “The goal is to give each kid a CD after the concert. It’s not a lecture. It’s music.”

So far, Christ has raised roughly $7,000. If a donor offers $100, Christ said he would knock $3.75 off the donation and send them a copy of “Brian’s Christmas Songbook.”

Mayor Rick Meehan supported Christ’s efforts and asked the community to help and support Worcester County’s children.

“This is a bigger problem than everyone thinks it is. It has the potential to touch every family in Ocean City, Worcester, Maryland and across the county,” Meehan said. “Some of us have experienced drug and alcohol issues in our lives and families. The difference is, this is not like trying your first beer. This is something you could try and die.”

Christ’s holiday concert is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 3 at the Performing Arts Center.

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