(WSYR-TV) — For nearly 50 years, Jack O. Bocchino was one of the Syracuse music scene’s most passionate supporters, capturing the essence of musicians with his camera. Before he died of cancer this spring, the Syracuse Area Music Awards named a new Spirit of the SAMMY’s Award in his name. He was awarded the first trophy.
His longtime friend Babette Puzzy says. “You ask just about any musician in this town when they saw Jack walk in the door, whether he had a camera in hand or not, they were happy to see him.”
Here’s one measure of the man. In 2014, Jack had prepared for a traditional Thanksgiving feast, but his mother was hospitalized and he knew he wouldn’t be home to enjoy it. So, he cooked it up and quietly gave it away.
Every year after that, Jack made it a tradition to share a complete Thanksgiving dinner with families in need. His friends thought it would be a fitting tribute to keep that tradition going this year in Jack’s honor.
“Food is love. Food is love,” says singer/songwriter Mark Macri. “He’s Italian, so food is love. So we’re just extending that love.”
Since mid-October, a Facebook Fundraiser has collected more than $6,400 for the first JacksGiving celebration. Organizers plan to put together and give away as many Thanksgiving dinners as they can. The dinners will be boxed and given away on Sunday, Nov. 22 at the 443 Social Club and Lounge located at 443 Burnet Avenue in Syracuse.
The giveaway will start at 1 p.m., and dinners will be handed out first come first serve. Event organizer Julia Slade says, “There will not be any questions, no judgments… All we ask is that when you can or if you can, just pay it forward.”
And this weekend, they hope to boost the effort even more, with a live stream concert on Sunday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. from Subcat Studios in Armory Square.
Eight bands will perform, and share stories about Jack. It’s their way to celebrate a friend, and fill a need too many are feeling. The line-up includes the following:
- Ashley Cox
- Lisa Romano Moore
- Thrift Store Gypsies featuring Scott Wilson
- CNY Songbirds
- Los Blancos featuring Maximilian Eyle
- Fab Four Each Other
- Simple Life Duo
Joanna Jewett is a vocalist with CNY Songbirds and a friend of Jack’s. She says this benefit will help fill a need among the musicians participating, and many of us in general.
“The new need. The need to feel connected, the need to know that somebody really cares. I think that is a really keen need right now,” Jewett said.
And they’re determined to keep it going. They plan to file for charity status, so they can make JacksGiving an annual tradition. They also hope to help a couple of Jack’s other favorite causes: In My Father’s Kitchen — to fight hunger — and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation — to support the fight against cancer in children.
To watch the live stream concert event on Sunday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., visit the SubCat Studios Facebook Page.
And to donate to the JacksGiving efforts, visit the JacksGiving Facebook Fundraiser Page.
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