Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

March 20, 2014

A bluegrass beat to battle Alzheimer's

Local band to play annual benefit show


The Andover Townsman

---- — It isn’t often that a Saturday night out both sets the stage for family-oriented fun and provides an opportunity to give back. But on March 22, Michelle Canning and Rough Edges, a bluegrass band from Andover, will offer just that.

The band will host its third annual “A Night on the Edge” — a heartfelt concert to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.

Canning holds the concert each year as a tribute to her grandfather, Ken Canning Sr., who passed away at age 82 after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

This year, the event will also include an interactive tribute to people with the brain disorder. The band is asking attendees to submit photos of loved ones who have or had Alzheimer’s disease. Those images, accompanied by messages, will be projected onstage during the band’s performance of a song Canning co-wrote in memory of her grandfather titled “It’ll Take Him Away.”

“My grandfather’s experience with Alzheimer’s disease had a profound effect on our family,” Canning said in a release. “I started this annual fundraiser as a way to help bring awareness to the disease and raise money to support the care of people in a similar situation.”

Proceeds from the concert will help fund the programs and services of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to providing optimal care and services to individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and their families. The organization estimates that some 120,000 people in Massachusetts have Alzheimer’s disease and more than twice that number are caring for individuals with the illness. AFA offers a toll-free help line, free caregiver magazine, educational conferences, programs to educate and engage teens and college students and more.

The band’s previous fundraisers have netted more than $5,000 for AFA.

The concert starts at 7 p.m. at Billerica VFW Hall in North Billerica. Tickets cost $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.MCREband.com.