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Brandanza 2009

Local bands come together for charity event in honor of Brandon Minier

By Ben Larson

Fort Wayne Reader


On April 26, 2009, Brandon Minier was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident on his way home from a friend’s house, leaving behind a wife and 2 children, ages 10 and 6. Brandon was a good friend of many of the area’s local musicians, and, as a benefit and fundraiser for Brandon’s children’s educational fund, a special show will be held on August 22 at Portside Pizza, 5310 N Old 102 in Columbia City (near Tri Lakes). I spoke with Chad Fry and Mike Thomas, the two main organizers of the show to discuss why they decided to put this on, and what the day’s events will entail.

Thomas had originally come up with the idea the day of Brandon’s funeral, along with another friend, and then presented it to Fry. “It sounded like the kind of thing Brandon would like, and the rest is history,” according to Fry. When I asked why they thought Brandon would like it, Fry said “I’ve just been thinking the whole time we’ve been planning this that this is the kind of thing Brandon would be at and having a great time if it was for someone else.”

The bands playing that day are not strangers either. “It’s not just random bands [playing],” Thomas said. “It’s bands that were his friends or have a connection to him.” Playing that day will be I, Wombat, The Swingin’ Angels, Unlikely Alibi, and Towhead (a group made up of the children of Fry and Thomas’ friends). Last but not least, the legendary Strut Train is reuniting specifically to play this show.

Aside from the music, a hog roast will be provided, as will beer and other refreshments. This will not be an adults only event, however. Thomas pointed out that there will be a bounce house for the kids, and possibly a face painter. Also on the docket is a corn hole tournament, and raffles for prizes.

In terms of their personal motivations for what made Brandon so worthy as to have something like this put on for his kids, Thomas said “The best way to describe Brandon is genuine. I’ve never heard anybody say anything bad or negative about him, and that’s a hard thing to come by. He always made everyone happy.” Brandon was also a big supporter of local music, so it seemed appropriate to Fry and Thomas that local music should, in turn, help support Brandon’s children after his passing. Thomas also said “we wanted to do something back for him for all the good he did for other everybody.”

This is a family event. Tickets are $10 per person or $20 per family, with children 12 and under getting in free. Beer (from Granite City) and food will be included in the price of admission (while supplies last). There will also be t-shirts to commemorate the event, with all proceeds going to the Minier children’s educational fund. The doors will open at 3:00, with the music beginning around 5:00. They hope to have the music wrapped up around 11:00 pm, but the party will continue until closing time at Portside. Parking will be limited, so attendees from out of town are encouraged to carpool.

Lastly, they are looking for volunteers for the event, and they can be reached at brandanza@yahoo.com, by typing in “brandanza” on facebook, or by calling Portside Pizza at 260-691-3333.

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