Local guitarist plans fundraiser for friend
February 1, 2013
Parkite Pete Young just completed treatment for oropharynx cancer, which attacks the middle part of the throat.
He was diagnosed in September and underwent a 10-week sessions, which included radiation treatment every day and chemotherapy once a week.
Young said the process was a "test of patience," and he also knows he’s not even close to being finished.
"All cancers are different from one person to the next, and this one requires a long period of recovery," Young said during an interview with The Park Record. "Part of it has to do with the fact that I can’t eat solid foods because I have no saliva. I’m on a liquid diet and that takes months before I’ll be able to eat normally."
Since he has to drink his meals, he has a low energy level, which prevents him from going back to working a full-time job. Consequently his bills are mounting up.
When Young’s friend Bruce Christenson heard the bad news, he decided to throw a fundraiser that will be held on today, Saturday, Feb. 2, at 7303 Pineridge Dr. in Upper Pinebrook at 7 p.m.
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"One of our friends has a big house up there and she was nice enough to volunteer her home for us," Christenson said. "It will be a fun night to remember."
Admission is a voluntary $5 donation, which will help Young pay for his bills.
"Our goal is to raise at least $1,000," Christenson said. "We already have $200 in cash donations and hopefully we’ll get 100 people there who may double down on the five dollars."
The event will feature live music by Christenson’s band, Peace Kahuna, which includes his music students Ben Samuels, 18, and his brother Matt, 16, on vocals and drums, respectively.
The Samuels’ siblings are the sons of Utah Music Festival and School founders Eric and Alison Samuels, Christenson said.
"It’s amazing what good musicians they are, for being so young," he said. "I mean, they obviously come from a family of musicians and all they’ve done is eat, drink and sleep music all their lives. They have been performing for 14 years, so they are pretty darn solid and it’s a pleasure to play with them."
Christenson, who cited Jimi Hendrix, Steve Morse of the Dixie Dregs, Steve Howe of Yes and Jeff Beck, as his heroes, has been playing guitar since he was eight.
"I’ve been a lifelong guitarist and musician and I leaned piano when I was five," he said. "I’ve always loved music and played band throughout school — trumpet and trombone and all that — but the guitar was the cool instrument to play back then. I wanted to play the electric guitar and get into a rock band."
He started playing with the Samuel brothers a couple of months ago.
"After a few sessions, they suggested we form a band and play at some functions," Christenson said. "We decided a good name would be Peace Kahuna, but since I’m nearly three-times their ages, our other name is Grandpa and the Boys."
Peace Kahuna is an alternative-rock jam band and more than 50 percent of their repertoire ends up in an improv session.
"We would eventually like to write our own material, but right now, we play covers and take those songs to places that most people will allow us to," Christenson said. "We’ll go into a funk jam or a blues or jazz jam and play around with it."
The band currently has 12 songs in their repertoire.
"Since we can stretch the songs into 10 minutes, we can play a two-hour set," Christenson chuckled.
In addition to the live music, the fundraiser will feature live and silent auctions.
"The live auction will be for a brand new pair of skis that have been donated to us and the silent auction will include lodging packages, movie tickets, dinners at restaurants and ski equipment," Christenson said. "There will be some snacks and hors d’oeuvres that have been generously donated by area grocery stores."
Throughout the night, the band will also hold opportunity drawings for smaller items, such as gift certificates and ski equipment.
"We’ll have the drawings between some songs and then have Pete get up and say a few words to us if he feels comfortable with that," Christenson said.
Young and Christenson knew each other from attending Mountain Life Church and some of its functions.
"Pete has been a good friend of mine and helped me when I was going through my divorce," Christenson said. "When I heard what he was going through, I knew I had to do something."
Young was taken aback when he heard about the fundraiser.
"I was overwhelmed when I found out that Bruce wanted to a benefit for me," he said. "It means a lot."
If people can’t attend and want to donate, they can, Christenson said.
"They can send a check made out to Pete Young to Mountain Life Church, 7375 Silver Creek Rd., Park City, Utah, 84098," he said.
Still, even if people can’t afford the $5 donation, Christenson said he would just like them to attend the event.
"We would still like them to come dance and have a good time," he said.
While there is an option to RSVP to Christenson at (435) 649-1674 or firstname.lastname@example.org , but it’s not mandatory.
"We would just like people to show up," he said.
For more information about the Pete Young Fundraiser that will be held today, Saturday, Feb. 2, at 7 p.m. at 7030 Pineridege Dr., call Bruce Christenson at (435) 649-1674.