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Former Styx singer steps up

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The signature voice of pop-rock band Styx will step in as headliner of this year’s free, annual Our Hospice of South Central Indiana concert.

Dennis DeYoung and his band will perform Aug. 30 at Columbus’ Mill Race Park.

Classic rock band Kansas, announced as concert headliner in May, informed Hospice leaders a week ago that it had to pull out of the Columbus show, said Laura Hurt, president of the nonprofit agency that cares for terminally ill patients and their families.

Kansas’ lead singer is retiring, requiring that the band cancel some of its final dates for the year, Hurt said.

The Hospice concert, which often has attracted crowds estimated at more than 10,000 people of all ages, is its biggest fundraiser of the year, normally generating more than $100,000 for its programs.

The event also has served over the years to build awareness of Hospice’s work, which was still considered new when the annual concerts began in 1986.

“This is the way we thank the community for supporting us,” Hurt said. “We couldn’t even consider canceling it.”

She said she was relieved that the organization delayed producing event T-shirts that generate part of the profits. Hurt complimented her concert committee for booking DeYoung so quickly as a replacement.

DeYoung is best known for his lead vocals on Styx hits from the 1970s through 1990s such as “Lady,” “Babe,” “Come Sail Away,” “Lorelei” and “Show Me the Way.”

He wrote and sang lead vocals on “Lady,” a tune that became the group’s first hit in 1972. DeYoung wrote seven of the band’s eight Top 10 hits.

Styx currently tours with frontman Tommy Shaw, the group’s longtime guitarist.

Keyboard player DeYoung, meanwhile, tours with his own six-piece band.

“He was available, and he met our criteria for national name recognition,” Hurt said. “This is a win-win situation.”

Mayan Miscalculation, winner of the recent Battle of the Bands local contest, will open the show. It will be followed by 40 Years of College with a guest appearance by Janie Gordon, a former member of the group.

While admission to the Our Hospice concert is free, the agency generates revenue from the sales of $10 raffle tickets (for a chance to win $10,000), T-shirt sales, food vendor sales, home-baked cookies and other items, including glow necklaces and bracelets.

Hospice added a weather insurance clause this year to help it cover financial losses in case the event is rained out. The gathering has been affected by inclement weather the past three years.

Last year’s show with Tommy James and the Shondells was rained out, resulting in losses originally totaling $50,000 before other fundraisers were conducted.

The concert in 2012 with Three Dog Night was moved to Columbus North High School gym three days beforehand because of forecast severe storms spinning off Hurricane Isaac. That show drew about 3,000, far less than most concerts at the park.

In 2011, the concert was canceled when a severe storm hit the park before headliner Grand Funk Railroad could take the amphitheater stage.

The 28th annual concert is sponsored by Faurecia and Columbus Regional Health, and is supported by the Columbus Area Arts Council.

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