The life of Gregg Rickards, a musically gifted graduate of East Hampton High School who died last August at age 23, was celebrated at a fund-raiser held on Friday night at the high school.
The event launched the endowment of a scholarship in Mr. Rickards’s honor and featured a wealth of local musical talent, nearly all of it with a connection to the high school. Performing were the school’s jazz ensemble; the Peter Weiss Trio (Mr. Weiss was a teacher of Mr. Rickards); Little Head Thinks, which includes Josh Brussel, a teacher, and Matt Dauch, a graduate; Casanova Frankenstein, featuring Dylan Sanacola, a recent graduate, and Mamalee Rose and Friends, featuring Arlethia (Mamalee) Lawler, a retired teacher.
Also appearing were the Far East Fiddle Club; the school’s music theory class; Your Mother, featuring Troy Grindle, a teacher, and his son; MonkFish, featuring Steven and Jackson Clark, a graduate and student, respectively; the Jet Set Renegades, featuring Thomas Bennett, a graduate, and students; Third Estate; and Tree Top Thieves, also made up of graduates.
An electric guitar and amplifier, donated by Crossroads Music and customized by Tom Bono, was raffled to raise additional money for the cause.
More than $6,000 was raised, according to Michael Clark, proprietor of Crossroads Music, which also provided sound equipment for the show. “There was a great energy in the room all night,” Mr. Clark said. “Not one performer was asked to play; every single one of them volunteered, which is really indicative of the musical community here. Whenever there’s a need, bands jump up and do it. It was a real good showing. There was a lot of community support, as usual.”
The initial idea for the scholarship was to award $500 to a graduating senior going into the field of music, said Mr. Rickards’s aunt, Patty Collins Sales. That may be broadened to include a larger award, multiple scholarships, or purchase of supplies for the high school’s music department, she said, though a decision has yet to be made. “The students were phenomenal,” Ms. Sales told The Star. “There was a whole lot of talent there. It was neat to see them on the stage with other local bands that you see all over town. It was a really good mix.”
Donations are still being accepted, Ms. Sales said, and can be made to the Greater East Hampton Education Foundation. Interested parties can send a check to East Hampton High School, 2 Long Lane, East Hampton 11937, to the attention of Marilyn Von Scoyoc, Music Department coordinator. “Gregg Rickards Scholarship” should be entered on the memo line.
“The vibe was unbelievable,” Ms. Sales said of the evening. “People were thanking us for letting them perform. It was truly nice, doing something positive. Hopefully we will be able to keep doing it, to keep something good going.”
“Make sure the readers know how appreciative my family is for everything,” she said.