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Maine musicians to come together in special concert for Sarah’s House

November 27, 2019
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Maine musician Riff Johnson has called upon the services of more than a dozen likeminded friends to come together in aid of Sarah’s House of Maine, in a special concert scheduled for Wednesday, December 11, at the Gracie Theatre, at Husson University in Bangor.

The concert, dubbed “Your Riff Johnson Christmas Experience” is sponsored by Mark Braveman of Mark’s Music, The Burning Moose vape shop and Braveman Audio.

“I hope the title isn’t too pretentious,” Johnson laughed during an interview. “It’s going to be an evening of great music and family fun.”

Johnson’s first-ever appearance at the Gracie Theatre will see the musician hosting a concert that will take on the form of a variety show of music and comedy, featuring a stage full of familiar faces from the local music scene.

“You’ll see some great Maine performers at this show,” Johnson said. “The 12-piece band has four female vocalists, a keyboard player, sax player, drums, bass, and a couple of guitarists. They’re all in great bands and have agreed to donate their time and effort to raise money for Sarah’s House of Maine.”

Sarah’s House of Maine, located in Holden, provides temporary lodging in a home environment for patients receiving treatment at Lafayette Cancer Treatment Center.

The 12-piece band scheduled to performhas been dubbed Mizfit Toyz, and includes members of the bands Rock Revelation, Fire and Ice, Octavia, eightysomething, Jump City Social Club, the Jim Brown Band and Midnight 46, according to Johnson.

Also appearing on the bill will be the band River Bottom Funk, singer Trisha Mason and the band Midnight 46.

Musicians represented in Mizfit Toyz include Johnson, Chris Gagnon, Lance Astbury, Heather Astbury-Libby, Rich Kenefic, Jim Murphy, Jim Brown, Jonathon Howe, Vanessa Kent, Dave Libby, Isabelle Jonason and Trisha Burke.

“The Mizfit Toyz will open and close the concert, and the other bands and performers on the bill will perform brief sets, each containing at least one Christmas song,” said Johnson. “I expect at least half of the program to consist of Christmas songs.”

Comedy duo 2 and The Flavs will provide comic relief at several points during the evening, according to Johnson. The duo performs weekly live shows broadcast on Facebook from the Queen City Cinema Club in downtown Bangor.

The benefit concert on December 11 will be Johnson’s biggest show in a series of charity shows he calls “The 12 Gigs of Riff-mas,” an event that began two years ago.

“I have 12 shows leading up to December 19,” he said. “Each concert raises at least $500 for a local family in need. On December 19, the funds will be delivered to each of the families selected by our panel this year.”

Johnson started his “12 Gigs of Riff-mas” benefit in 2017 and says the letters he receives become more compelling each year.

“It’s kind of like writing to Ellen,” said Johnson of the process used to determine the beneficiaries of funds raised for the event. “You write about someone that could really benefit from the money. I have a team of five people that read every letter sent in. When we deliver the money on December 19, we try to get the person who wrote the original letter involved. It has worked really well so far.”

Anyone wishing to nominate a deserving person or family for consideration should send a detailed letter to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or via private message to the Riff Johnson Facebook fan page.

Johnson says he expects to distribute 12 checks, each valued at $500, to deserving recipients on December 19. A summary of the last two years of giveaways can be seen on Riff Johnson’s YouTube channel.

Johnson has set a goal of raising $10,000. All funds collected that exceed $6,000 will be donated to Sarah’s House of Maine, according to Johnson.

Admission for the December 11 benefit concert at the Gracie Theatre will be by donation of any amount at the door.

“We’re hopeful that people will be able to donate $20, or even five or ten dollars,” Johnson said. “But if people have nothing to give, we would still like them to come to be part of this evening. It’s going to be a very special night.”

Last modified on Wednesday, 27 November 2019 06:36

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