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Molloy students rock school for needy kids

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Archbishop Molloy students helped a group of needy Filipino children Friday and they didn’t even have to leave the school’s auditorium to do it.

The Briarwood school drew more than a 500 people to its sixth Rock Aid concert with three bands, two of which featured students and teachers. Even though students and faculty enjoyed jamming to the original tunes in an auditorium filled with fans , they were more excited the concert raised money for poor children half a world away.

“I think that was something the kids were very passionate about,” said Glenn DaGrossa, who organized the event along with a group of Molloy students. “Anytime they are able to help in some way, they volunteered their time.

DaGrossa, who teaches art at the Catholic high school, helped to create Rock Aid in 2002 as a way for students to show off their music skills but also learn about the behind−t­he−scenes work of putting a concert together. Under his supervision, the students managed everything from the concert’s posters, T−shirts and ticket sales to the show’s laser light effects, 12,000−watt amp and rigs.

“They loved it because [the concert] gave them an opportunity to be part of the show,” the teacher said of the volunteers. “A lot of them want to work in the industry so it gives them the experience of what’s it’s like.”

DaGrossa’s band of more than 20 years, Lazarus, was one of the groups that performed Friday along with Single File to Bliss, a band featuring Molloy students, and a professional band called J−Rad. The teacher said he had fun practicing with the other bands and was glad to help the young rock artists play their music for a major audience.

“That’s the point of the show,” DaGrossa said. “They get the gratification of doing it.”

Over the last seven years nearly $20,000 from the show’s profits were given to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, but this year DaGrossa and Molloy decided to explore a charity that was close to the school’s heart.

The Marist Brothers, the religious order that opened and runs Molloy, asked DaGrossa if this year’s Rock Aid could be used to raise money for a special school it operates in the Philippines.

The school is free for the boys and girls who live in the nation’s slums and it has given them a chance to rise above their poverty, according to Charles Flood, Molloy’s director of alumni relations.

“They give them a good meal, clean clothes and they teach them,” he said of the Marist brothers in the Philippines.

This year’s Rock Aid raised approximately $6,000 and DaGrossa said he and his fellow performers were proud to help the brothers overseas.

“The overall meaning is to give to charity; the second is to give these kids an experience that they’d never forget,” he said.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e−mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 146.

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