The Second Annual St. John Relay for Life is just around the corner and music committee chairperson Phillip “Grasshopper” Pickering has a full slate of talented bands and singers lined up to entertain the crowd all night long.
The fundraiser for the local chapter of the American Cancer Society kicks off at 4 p.m. on Saturday, February 11, at the Winston Wells ball field. Teams will set up their tents and get ready to have one teammate walking the make-shift track on the field all night long.
The event is designed to remind the community that “Cancer Never Sleeps” as teammates continually walk the track until the closing ceremony at 10 a.m. on Sunday, February 12. The local Relay planning committee has been hard at work for months making sure walkers are entertained with plenty of music, singing, dancing and even some acrobatic stunts.
Evanna Chinnery and Carl Powell are slated to get the event off on the right foot singing and playing a rendition of “Because We Believe” as the children of St. John show off their dance moves with Liz Putnam.
Survivors will take to the track for the first lap of the event and will then be joined by family members and friends. The Ah We Band is sure to get those Relay walkers moving and shaking with their up-tempo set, slated to take teams through sunset to around 6 p.m.
The Love City Pan Dragons will take over entertainment duties as cancer survivors and caregivers enjoy the special survivor’s dinner.
The new St. John girl band Island Girl Swagg will show off their skills until around 7:30 p.m. when Koko and the Sunshine Band are set to take the crowd back with some old-school scratch music.
Around 9 p.m. the lights in the field will dim as officials get ready for the emotional luminaria ceremony. Luminaria bags, each in memory of someone who has lost their battle or continues their struggle with cancer, line the inside of the track as a constant reminder of the event’s importance.
With the track dark, Relay volunteers will light the luminaria bags and survivors will take to the track alone again for a lap before being joined by family members and friends.
Following the always emotional luminaria ceremony, Pickering’s own roots reggae band Inner Visions is set to take the stage, and kick off the wee hours of entertainment. Musicians from Shikima Jones, to T-Bird and Chris Carsel and bands from Paradise People, the ISH and Slammin’ will keep those Relay walkers awake and going strong.
The music will last right up until the 10 a.m. closing ceremony and Pickering is excited about the line-up this year.
“We have a lot of different artists on the line-up this year,” said Pickering. “This year we’re going to be using the big stage from Fourth of July and we’ll have really nice lighting from the folks at Concert Works from St. Croix.”
“All in all, it’s going to be a bigger production than last year,” said Pickering.
This is Pickering’s second year heading up the musical portion of the evening and he is happy to dedicate his time to the Relay for Life.
“I got involved because it’s a really worthy cause and I think that while it doesn’t pay for actual medications and treatment, these funds can help pay for screenings and off-island travel,” said Pickering. “That might seem small, that can make a really big difference for people. I hear some people complaining about things, but there are a lot of people who need this help.”
It’s still not too late to get involved with the event. Any musicians still interested in playing at the Second Annual St. John Relay for Life February 11 through 12 should email Pickering at firstname.lastname@example.org.