flock to benefit show: Seven bands play in Abington to help
By JOHN ZAREMBA
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
‘‘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
‘‘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 email@example.com.
Copyright 2005 The Patriot Ledger
Transmitted Monday, August 29, 2005