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Dear Friends,

We are wishing you all a new year filled with happiness, health and humor. 

Over the course of 2023, many of our Band Central monthly newsletters addressed what mental health experts have deemed the ongoing “loneliness epidemic.” Humor is an essential way to connect with each other, and according to a neuropsych article by the ‘Big Think’ a recent study suggested you can think of a sense of humor as your mind’s immune system. The article goes on to say...

"The benefits of a good sense of humor are so profound that colleges such as Stanford are offering courses on humor in the workplace. The big goal? To teach students how “to achieve business objectives, build more effective and innovative organizations, cultivate stronger bonds, and capture more lasting memories. It doesn’t stop there, though. The professors also believe that humor has the power to “make and scale positive change in the world.”

At Band Central, our approach to making a positive change in the world starts in our own community and can be summarized in our 2023 Impact Report below. Read on for the number of nonprofits Band Central served, total funds raised, grants awarded, the multiplier effect of these grants, payments to local musicians and more.

Just as we believe tools like humor are essential to health - we also believe it’s important to evaluate our performance through qualitative measures that cannot be confined cleanly into stats and numbers.

For example, we ask ourselves, are the concerts a meaningful experience for the nonprofits, musicians and audiences? Is the Band Central team feeling purpose and joy in our roles? All of these aspects and more go into our work.

We’re so excited to show up, get down, and do good with you in 2024!

-Rob and The Band Central Team



On November 9, Band Central musicians performed “Rock For Hope” at FTC Stage One to benefit Operation Hope, which provides vital food and housing assistance to our community.  

Here’s the full concert video featuring Gabrielle Lakshmi, Joe Bouchard, Gray Fowler, Joan Hepburn, Pat Marafiote, Mike Marble and Rob Fried.

Check out some of the songs at these time stamps:

0:49 - I Wish - Stevie Wonder 

1:13 - Don’t Fear The Reaper - Blue Oyster Cult

1:25 - Don’t Stop Believin’ - Journey

1:29 - Do You Feel Like We Do - Peter Frampton

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Dear Friends,

Over the past six months, our monthly letters have covered mental health, personal growth, approaches to social activism, the magic of making mistakes, separating the essential from the noise in life, etc. 

This month, our focus turns to happiness, play, or more specifically “playing hooky”. If all of a sudden, you have a free day or half day, what would you do?

Living in Fairfield County has an aspect of intensity: there are pressures of being productive, earning a comfortable living, etc. Why not design a break where we get off the treadmill of To-do’s and projects, and just enjoy? 

I asked Band Central musicians and nonprofit partners how they free play. Here are a few of answers that I hope will inspire you to take a break! Read on for their answers below!

P.S. - Speaking of playing hooky, Band Central will be taking the month of December off so stay tuned for our next monthly letter in the New Year!

Bill Carbone - Drummer, Executive Dir. at Teach Rock -

"Go hiking! So much awesome outdoor space. Even better if my family has the day too, because the best conversations happen once we break the day-to-day flow and get out in the woods together. Also I like to play tennis as my adult growth mindset activity to keep my gray matter supple."

Fuzz Sangiovanni, Guitarist/Vocalist -

"Get out in nature, away from the hustle and congestion of modern living. A hike in one of the parks close to home like Lake Mohegan or Devil’s Den are always great. In the summer months I’m a regular kayaker on the LI Sound."

Amanda Meeson, Executive Dir., Sterling House Community Center -

"Go for a hike to Roosevelt Forest in Stratford if I don’t have a lot of time, or Southford Falls if I have a half day."

Steve DiCostanzo, General Manager, WPKN -

"Toes in the sand at the beach. Living in Black Rock makes that convenient."

John Torres, Guitarist/Vocalist, Park City Music Hall GM -

"Sit and stare at the Long Island Sound to empty my mind. After a certain amount of time, my mind relaxes and I feel a connection with my surroundings and with the earth and with humanity that is inaccessible to me when I'm hyper focused on tasks, job, family duties, emails, etc."

Audrey Nefores - Band Central Dir. of Communications -

"I head to my garden without an objective. I don't let myself tackle one of the items on my to-do list. Instead, I just observe the plants and their relationship to each other and the soil they are growing in. If they are unhappy, I try to observe slowly what might ail them. If a patch is doing well, I observe the placement of the sun and what plant companions are near them."

Andy Kadison - Band Central Executive Producer -

"Walk and smell the trees and earth at Tarrywile Park in Danbury."

Rob Fried - Band Central Founder -

"Steve DiCostanzo, GM of WPKN and I recently got stuff done in the morning and then drove to Hammonasset State Park, where we sat on the beach, talked, had a cold beer and swam. The Long Island Sound is special there as it starts to open up to the Atlantic Ocean. After two hours of talking, walking, beaching we headed home yet with the all important stop at Pepe’s Pizza in New Haven for more bliss and talking."\

Pat Marafiote, Keyboardist -

"Sit at my Steinway grand piano all day and play."

Tracey Marble, Vocalist -

"Mindfully knitting."

Gabrielle Lakshmi, Vocalist -

"Try happy hour at a new restaurant I’ve never been to."

Carole Sylvan, Vocalist -

"Being a caregiver, I love a spa day for self care."

I hope you find our communications entertaining, informative and useful. Our mission is to produce music and content that inspires people to feel safe enough to be generous to nonprofits in our community. Generosity spreads love and growth. Please join us by attending our live music events, listening to Band Central Radio on WPKN 89.5FM (and WPKN Podcasts and WPKN YouTube Live Stream) and following us on Facebook.

Peace and love,

Rob & The Band Central Team



Speaking of free play, one fun item for most of us CT music lovers is listening to WPKN. Did you know that WPKN reaches 1.5 million people in Connecticut, Long Island, parts of New York and Massachusetts? Operating 24/7 and largely run by volunteers, WPKN offers a unique and eclectic mix of live and recorded music, news, public affairs, spoken word, arts & culture and other free-form programming which defy genre. WPKN is proud to be listener-supported, commercial-free, community-driven radio available to the public at no cost!

Band Central is proud to provide our Band Central Radio program the fourth Monday of every month from 12:00-1:00pm on WPKN 89.5FM in Bridgeport, and on your audio device of choice anytime you want to listen via WPKN Podcasts and WPKN Live Stream on YouTube.

We also want to give a huge shout out to WPKN General Manager, Steve DiCostanzo, who is retiring in December after 13 years of dedicated service to the station and community. Thank you Steve! You will be missed.



On October 20, Band Central musicians performed a Rockin’ Halloween Bash to benefit CLASP, which provides home environments to adults with developmental disabilities. Check out the band performing “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac, featuring Stephanie Harrison, Anthony Gadaleta, Crispin Cioe, Pat Marafiote, Eric Kalb, Marcos Torres Jr., and Rob Fried. Click here to watch!

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Dear Friends,

In last month’s newsletter I discussed the mental health crisis and suggested that along with becoming more aware of the big picture predicament in our country, it is also a good time to do a personal “check up from the neck up” by reviewing your "Three P’s: People, Places and Purpose." To Recap:

  • People: Surround yourself with friends, family, groups, teachers, co-workers and therapists that support healing and mental wellness.

  • Places: Create and embrace safe spaces…a clean home, an organized office, a welcoming community center, an inviting school.

  • Purpose: Make it your purpose to help others and you will help yourself. 

Reviewing our personal Three P’s and making adjustments, empowers us to achieve balance and happiness in our own lives.

Recently, I attended an insightful mental health symposium at Dartmouth College, where 6 surgeon generals, current and past, provided their perspective. 

Here are a few takeaways:

  1. Vivek Murthy, the current surgeon general, stated that the root cause of the mental health crisis is loneliness, particularly for the 10 - 30 year age group. He emphasized the importance of socializing in person, having more frequent phone calls in lieu of using social media and cultivating community.

  2. Another surgeon general raised the issue of the need for more trained mental health professionals to support the increasing demand for treatment.

  3. Technology can play a critical role in gathering data to help detect and diagnose mental health issues. For example phone apps can capture information about our sleep, nutrition, location, movements and biomarkers to provide individuals with feedback, suggested actions, and individualized treatment plans.

  4. Vivek Murthy also discussed the importance of practicing empathy and compassion towards others, as well as moving away from political divisiveness especially during this stressful pre-election period.  

I hope you find our communications entertaining, informative and useful and will join us by attending our live music events, listening to Band Central Radio on WPKN (and WPKN Podcasts and YouTube) and following us on Facebook.

Peace and love,

Rob & The Band Central Team



On Friday, October 20 Band Central will present “Rockin Halloween Bash” at FTC Stage One to benefit CLASP and their homes, skills and life training for adults with developmental disabilities.  Tickets are $45. Join us for Halloween fun that will make a positive impact for our community!



Check out the video above for our September 24 Band Central Radio program featuring Amy Barnouw, Director CT Audubon Society, Jeff Keith, founder and CEO of Mission/CT Challenge and Tracy Flood, CEO of CLASP.

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