A Backstage Pass to Rockin’ For New Eyes

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HARD ROCK CAFE—Guitar. Check. Guitar picks, medium gauge. Check. A pack of new guitar strings. Check. Notebook with band arrangements. Check. Black tux jacket with black glitter lapels. Check.

These are the things I’ll grab before heading out to the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square for the big gig next Saturday night. The gig is Rockin’ For New Eyes, the fundraiser my fellow optical industry musicians and I are putting on for New Eyes for the Needy, the New Jersey-based non-profit organization.

This annual rock concert, which takes months of preparation, is a labor of love for everyone who is involved. The 38 musicians and singers in the band—including 14 optometry students—donate their time and talents to support New Eyes’ prescription eyeglass program for needy children and adults in the U.S. Together with our corporate sponsors and the friends and fans who bought tickets to the show, we are giving to those in need in a way all of us in the optical business can relate to.

It’s challenging to put on any show, and this one is no exception. Consider the logistics of organizing 38 performers into five different cover bands that will each perform a 45-minute set of well-known, danceable hits. That’s about 12 songs per set. Several months before the show, the set leaders assign vocal and instrumental parts for each song and provide band members with charts containing chords, lyrics and arrangement notes. Then we all “hit the woodshed” to practice and learn our parts.

Each band only gets one two-and-a-half hour rehearsal two days before the show, so everyone has to come totally prepared and focused. We quickly find out what songs are working and which ones aren’t, and we make necessary adjustments. It’s hard work, but everyone gives their all. We want to turn the Hard Rock into the Ultimate Optical Party Zone on Saturday night, and this is what it takes for the band to be ready to rock.

Then, it’s “Live from Times Square in the heart of New York, it’s Rockin’ For New Eyes!”

VIP and General Admission tickets are available at www.shopneweyes.org/rfne-tickets. General Admission tickets will be available at the door at Hard Rock Café, located at Broadway and 43rd St. Also, New Eyes for the Needy will be raffling off two VIP tickets at their Vision Expo booth #2382. Names can be submitted until 5:00 pm Saturday when winners will be drawn.

See you at the show!