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Singing to stop cancer

For the past couple of years, Rob Jonas has put together a day of music at Tess' Lark Tavern as a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

This year, Jonas wanted to find a bigger venue, one with two stages. That way, twice as many musicians could play, which could bring in twice the crowd and potentially twice the donations for a cause that has special significance for Jonas.

My mom died in 2007 of cancer, so I wanted to try to do something to defeat it, he said.

Jonas, the Spotlight sports editor, is also a regular on the local music scene. He has played frequently over the past year at Emack and Bolio's, an ice cream chain with shops in Guilderland and Albany.

"It kind of occurred to me, maybe this would be a good place," Jonas said, noting that Emack and Bolio's has good acoustics and the dual locations would fit his wish for an expanded roster of musicians.

There was another reason Emack and Bolio's was a good fit. Co-owner Ken Young's mom is also fighting cancer. She just recently started chemotherapy. So when Jonas approached Young about the fundraiser, he was more than happy to offer Emack and Bolio's as the venue. The shops will serve up live music all day on Saturday, Oct. 24, with all CD sales and music tips, as well as a percentage of the food sales, benefiting the American Cancer Society.

That's particularly exciting for Jonas, who in the past raised money only from donations and raffle tickets he sold for prizes he collected from local businesses.

"People might just go there for the ice cream," he said. "They're in effect donating to the cause."

Ice cream isn't the only draw at Emack and Bolio's, although that's certainly what hooked Young's wife, Amy Riddell. An ice cream aficianado who worked at the Ben and Jerry's on Lark Street in Albany during college, Riddell visited an Emack and Bolio's in Cape Cod about six years ago and said to her husband, "This is it."

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