MONTCLAIR, NJ — More than 2,000 people from all over the country spent their Black Fridays at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair, raising money for the Brendan P. Tevlin Memorial Field Fund, at the second-annual “Concert for Brendan.”
Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes, Citizens Band Radio, and more than 100 bagpipers from ten different bands, from as far away as Monmouth County and New York, performed in honor of the 19-year-old bagpiper whose story inspired them.
Seton Hall Preparatory School graduates Dominick Giambattista and Dominick Gargano, schoolmates of Brendan’s, also wrote and performed what many described as a heartbreaking song called, “Here’s to a Better Life,” using Brendan’s well-known mantra “Good Vibes and Easy Living.”
According to Brendan’s Aunt Kathleen Magnier, redeveloping the main athletic field at SHP in Brendan’s name was what the Tevlin Family decided would best serve Brendan’s memory and will be an upbeat place that will last for many years to come.
“The Tevlins aren’t the ones who run this—this is all people who are doing it out of the goodness of their hearts,” said Magnier. “It’s their love for the family and really just people who have been touched and inspired by his story. So many people have been touched by [Brendan] and that’s really the amazing thing.”
When Brendan was the innocent victim of a fatal shooting in June of 2014, friends and family from Brendan’s hometown in Livingston and many surrounding areas were at a loss for how to help. With the community shaken, close family friends Mark DeCicco and John Butkus decided a concert in his name would be an uplifting way to celebrate Brendan’s life without forgetting what happened to him.
This year, Magnier said the committee that was formed in 2014 out of a labor of love wanted to ensure that the second “Concert for Brendan” in 2015 would be bigger, better and well-attended. A large committee made up of many close friends and a handful of family members divided and conquered the roles, got the word out, and delivered a successful event that Magnier said the historic Wellmont Theater was proud to host.
“At the beginning we wondered how this was going to come about, but it all played out well,” said Magnier, who also said the committee is determined to host the concert again in 2016. “It was really a collaboration of a number of people who reached out to their contacts and got it off the ground. There was a lot of interest in being part of it and we’re learning as we go along, so we’re hoping that next year will be bigger and better.”
Magnier said the Wellmont Theater was tremendous in working with the space and was more than satisfied with the turnout. The committee held two “Pub Nights” leading up to the event at Grasshopper off the Green in Morristown and St. James’ Gate Publick House in Maplewood, which Magnier said both made generous donations to the fund.
According to Magnier, their committee and others will still continue to fundraise in an effort to increase the Brendan P. Tevlin Memorial Field Fund so that redevelopment can begin in the near future. Fundraisers like the “Concert for Brendan,” Livingston UNICO’s recent golf outing and the summer’s BPT Lacrosse tournament are being held in the hopes that the field’s redevelopment might be completed in time for Brendan’s brother and cousins to enjoy it.
The “Concert for Brendan” was well attended by friends and family, but also by people who weren’t affiliated with the family in any way. Magnier said this included a man who flew in from Hawaii with the intention of attending and a woman who approached Brendan’s grandfather to express the many ways that Brendan’s story has inspired her.
“I can’t say enough about the crowd and the entertainment, we’ve been getting really good feedback on everything,” said Magnier. “All of these [fundraisers] are really meant to gather the family and the friends and everybody is looking for something to do. People want to do more. It’s very inspiring.”
All photos were taken by Janet Burke. More photos can be found HERE or on Instagram at @CONCERTFORBRENDAN.