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Memorial concert returns to Hannawa Falls

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HANNAWA FALLS — The sound of music drew hundreds to the Hannawa Falls Fire Hall on Saturday for the third annual J.D.M. Musicfest.

The concert is held in honor of Jesse D. McCarthy, a Canton man who died in a car accident in 2009 at age 23. Jesse was an avid guitarist, and the money raised at the concert goes to support aspiring musicians.

“He had a lot of friends, as you can see,” said Jesse’s father, Edward J. McCarthy, gesturing to the crowd gathered outside the hall.

Last year’s concert raised $7,200, and Mr. McCarthy said Saturday’s show was on track to make even more.

Two youths benefit from the fund each year. They do not receive the money directly; sometimes they receive gift cards for music stores, other times the money goes to music teachers.

The McCarthy family is hoping to expand the program to include more people, but they have had trouble finding interested applicants.

This year, the money will be open to children in grades six through 12, instead of just those in grades nine through 12.

“We’re not really getting the response from the older kids that we want,” said Edward McCarthy’s wife, Kelly M.

The fund was created to help kids pursue their musical interests, since schools often are unable to do the same.

“The music program is one of the first things that gets cut. It’s all about sports,” Mr. McCarthy said.

Finding interested participants has been a challenge, Mr. McCarthy said.

“It’s almost like you can’t give the money away,” he said.

Five bands entertained the crowd Saturday. Most of the attendees knew Jesse or his family. Some stayed inside listening to the bands, while others gathered outdoors to chat with friends, nurse their beers and let their children play on the nearby playground.

“It’s a great cause. It’s been real good for Ed’s family to maintain their memory of Jesse,” said Joseph M. Thomas, who plays in the Max Ryder band, the main act of the day.

The concert was created in 2010 by Jesse’s aunts, Crystal McCarthy and Vicki Stark.

“It gets bigger every year,” Ms. McCarthy said.

The family also holds a motorcycle run every August to further memorialize Jesse.

Musicians interested in applying for money from the Jesse McCarthy Music Scholarship Fund can call Mr. McCarthy at 854-5057.

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