Jenni-Lyn Watson was a 20-year-old dancer who'd performed in prestigious shows in Syracuse and was furthering her entertainment career at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa. After she was murdered last month while spending the Thanksgiving break at her family home in Clay, several of her musician friends who play in some of Central New York's most innovative rock bands wanted to do something for her grieving family.
They posted a notice on Facebook's Syracuse Music Scene and attracted the attention of Liverpool musician Paul Davie who operates an events-marketing company called WOW Factory. Davie presented the idea of a day-long multi-band benefit to the owners of Sharkey's Eclectic Sports Lounge.
He also contacted Mercyhurst College administrators and Jenni-Lyn's family including her mother, Jackie Watson, and her father, Liverpool Central School District Board of Education member David Watson.
"Even though the effects of the Jenni-Lyn tragedy reached all over Central N.Y. and the entire country, she was-and her family are-Liverpool people," Davie said. Jenni-Lyn was a 2008 graduate of Liverpool High School.
What inspired him to help, he said, was the family's quiet display of "grace under the most horrible circumstances."
"Syracuse Bands Together for Jenni-Lyn" from noon to 7 p.m. on Sunday Jan. 2, on two different stages at Sharkey's Eclectic Sports Lounge, 7240 Oswego Road (Route 57), with proceeds going to the Jenni-Lyn Watson Dance Scholarship Fund to be managed by Mercyhurst College.
Vanguard local rock combos Augustine, Born Again Rebels, Brand New Sin, Capricorn Black, Catastrophe Me and Feeding Affliction will all perform on Sharkey's downstairs stage while Rob Spagnoletti, Paul Taylor, Hendry, the Chris Terra Band, Fab Five Paul, Jason Bean, Hodson & Donelan and Dirty Little Secret Unplugged will play on the upstairs stage.
"The idea for this event came from the bands who posted on Facebook," Davie said. "They're the ones playing the downstairs stage."
Sharkey's "will be transformed into a kind of Epcot Center," Davie said, "with a silent auction and raffle room, a live band and dance floor downstairs in the banquet hall and acoustic music upstairs in the main restaurant." The 14 acts will play music from the 1960s to the present, including plenty of original songs.
Admission costs $20 for adults, $15 for ages 11-21, and is free for kids ages 10 and younger. The ticket price includes a buffet dinner and one free beverage. For info, call 382-7285, or visit JenniLynDanceFundraiser.com.