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Concert for Cancer, Lung Of Course!


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Steve Hoffman tribute in NYC

By KAREN BLISS -- For JAM! Music

The Steven Hoffman Tribute Concert for Lung Cancer Research, in memory of the music manager who worked with such artists as The Tea Party, Rush, Extreme and Wilson Phillips throughout his career, will be staged in New York City on May 18 at the 450-capacity Canal Room.

"The reason why we're doing it here is because the family is here and most of the friends from the U.S. from the New York side are here and it just felt like the right place to do it," says his only brother, Robby Hoffman, himself a musician who returned to artist management after Steve's death. "If people from Canada want to come, they can come. I would love to do another in Canada eventually."

Steven Hoffman was born in New York, but spent the last 10 years of his life living in Toronto, where he worked for SRO Management, long-time managers of Rush and at the time The Tea Party, Matthew Good and Todd Kerns. Hoffman was 38 when he passed away three years ago at Toronto's Princess Margaret Hospital of non-small cell lung cancer. His funeral in Long Island was standing room only and featured a beautiful acoustic performance of "More Than Words" by Extreme's Gary Charone and Nuno Bettencourt.

The Steven Hoffman Tribute Concert for Lung Cancer Research includes entertainment from Extreme, Steve's friends' bands, an all-star jam, plus silent and live auctions, hors d'oeuvres and cocktails. Monies raised from the event will go towards the Steven Hoffman Fellowship in Molecular Genomics at the Princess Margaret Hospital.

"Our goal is to raise a million dollars (CDN), not necessarily on this one event," says Hoffman. "We need a million dollars to have it in Steve's name. Right now, we have funds that are there that are gaining interest.

"What happens is the money that we raise, the interest on that money pays for a fellow to study lung cancer research. He'll be studying the molecular causes of lung cancer; the molecular basis of malignancy and tumour growth; all the generic markings for early detections and prognosis and also develop new therapies to reverse molecular changes leading to cancer -- under Steven's name.

"Princess Margaret Hospital is a research hospital," Hoffman continues. "They hire medical scientists to come study lung cancer research under the Steven Hoffman Fellowship at Princess Margaret. It's a one or two year fellowship program. Most of the research scientists that are at Princess Margaret started as a fellow there and then got promoted to bigger positions."

Tickets for The Steven Hoffman Tribute Concert for Lung Cancer Research are $125 (U.S.) and there are other levels of recognition, the $1000 silver sponsorship, $2500 gold and $5000 platinum.

"Depending on the level of sponsorship they buy, they get a table and there's different sized tables. They get recognition and corporate logo on all promotional material in the press kit. They get verbal recognition at the event. Their corporate logo will go on the StevenHoffmanFund.org web site, as well as recognition at whatever level they donated to be listed in the Princess Margaret Annual Report," says Hoffman.

In addition, the live and silent auctions feature in-kind donations, such as a concert tickets, backstage passes, a vacation, jewelry, and other special items.

"[Rush's] Geddy Lee donated his signature Fender Jazz Bass that he's autographing with the band; [Extreme's] Nuno is donating his Washburn signature guitar, autographed," says Hoffman. "There's going to be reservations at Rao's, which is the most impossible reservation to get in New York City. It's one of these restaurants it takes two years to get into."

All donations are tax deductible for Americans and Canadians.

Hoffman says he would like to make the tribute concert an annual event and expand the bill.

"What we decided to do because this is the first one is keep it contained to people who were part of Steven's life," says Hoffman. "We have assembled a star-studded lineup of musicians that in some way have touched and enriched Steve's life and who are honored to pay tribute to him, including Extreme, Valentine, which is Steve's dearest friends. He left college to manage them. They got signed to Columbia and then Giant. Evolution, which is the singer [Hugo Valente]from that band's Journey tribute that I play guitar in. And then we're going to have this big all-star rock jam kind of like Steve's [37th birthday] party [at Revival in Toronto]. I'm going to bring down some of the guys from Spacehog and Steve's friend who did the Blues Brothers thing at his party are going to play, and everyone's going to get up and jam. Anyone who wants to jam is welcome."

Hoffman says the former members of The Tea Party, now disbanded, will be invited as well as Rush, which is gearing up for a major tour. He doesn't expect either to attend.

For out-of-towners, arrangements have been made for a group rate at either the Tribeca Grand Hotel or Soho Grand Hotel, and Hoffman is working on a rate at a less expensive area hotel.

Ticket, donor and hotel information will be on stevenhoffmanfund.org later this week or call Wendy Howze, director of special events at Princess Margaret Hospital, at 416 946 4661.

Hoffman says he is even trying for an appearance from Jak, Steve's only son, who lives in Toronto with his mother.

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