Teens flock to benefit show: Seven bands play in Abington to help Coombs Foundation
The Patriot Ledger

ABINGTON - At about 1 a.m. yesterday, the knot in her stomach stirred 15-year-old Meaghan Coombs from her sleep.
She had spent much of the past month organizing a concert to benefit the charity named after her father, Jeffrey, who was killed in the Sept. 11 attacks.
The seven bands had been booked, the venue was secured and the police detail was lined up. But Meaghan was worried that no one would come.
‘‘She woke up at 1 in the morning and had to take Pepto,'' said her mother, Christie Coombs.
But Meaghan's unease subsided as hundreds of teens filed into the park behind Abington High School yesterday. By midafternoon, any trace of worry was long gone.
‘‘This is way more than I expected,'' she said.
Yesterday's concert drew about 480 teenagers from across the South Shore to raise money for the Jeffrey Coombs Memorial Foundation. They raised more than $5,000. In four years, the organization has doled out more than $200,000, much of it to help grieving families.
The foundation has helped several families pay for funeral expenses. Other families have been sent on much-needed vacations to Cape Cod and Walt Disney World.
The Coombs family also has sent hundreds of care packages to South Shore soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, and recently purchased a video camera so a Weymouth father serving in Iraq could correspond with his 3-year old child.
‘‘We help out families in a variety of different ways,'' said Christie Coombs, a freelance journalist whose work regularly appears in The Patriot Ledger. ‘‘We had gotten so much help from people.''
Her family has coordinated annual road races to benefit the fund, but this was the first year they had attempted a concert of young, local bands. The idea was Meaghan's.
‘‘I wanted to do a fund-raiser for my dad's fund that I would like to go to,'' she said. ‘‘Usually it's all adults. There's really no adults here.''
Indeed, the bandstand behind Abington High was surrounded by middle and high school students cutting loose during the last few days of summer break.
A Loss for Words' late-afternoon set was a homecoming for the band. The Abington natives just returned from a two-week East Coast tour.
Fans pushed in close to the stage, jumping and clapping in sync, and singing along with vocalist Matt Arsenault's with near-religious reverence.
‘‘You're singing along just like you're in the band,'' he told the crowd. ‘‘That's all that matters. Just have a good time.''
The 5-year-old band jumped at the chance to play yesterday's show.
‘‘It's awesome,'' said Arsenault, 21. ‘‘I was very excited to help out and be a part of this.''
The Coombs family is hoping to make the concert an annual event. This year's road race takes place Sept. 18, starting at Woodsdale Elementary School.

More information on the race is available at jeffcoombsfund.org.
John Zaremba may be reached at jzaremba@ledger.com.
Copyright 2005 The Patriot Ledger
Transmitted Monday, August 29, 2005

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