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Rock steady

1:24 PM  Sep 2nd, 2014
by Molly Blake '96

Hellcat Maggie’s band members have a name for the very moment when the last note of the last song is played at the end of the annual Lou Loncar Children’s Fund concert.

One minute, the seven-member band is performing Lenny Kravitz covers, Jovi, Journey, and even their own ballad, ”Flower,” followed by a final song — this year, it was “Paradise City” by Guns N Roses. The next, they collectively realize the night is over and they won’t play together again for a solid year.

“We call it the Hellcat Hangover,” says Tom Loncar, Maggie’s guitarist.

Loncar and fellow 1996 grads Paul Brown, Dan Volz, Steve Sanpietro, Jess Dixon Lyke alongside 1997 grads Rex Bacon and John Rovnan converged on suburban Cleveland in late June for the fourth annual Lou Loncar Children’s Fund show that, this year, drew a record crowd and a record financial haul.

The LLCF concert started as a benefit for Lou Loncar’s family following the UD football standout’s sudden death in 2009. Gradually, the band chose to expand the scope of beneficiaries to include a sick neighborhood kid, a high school football program and this year, a young father battling brain cancer. It was an organic change that Loncar says “would have made my brother really proud.”

Loncar’s extended family, neighbors, and UD grads like Michelle Demarchi Raclaw ’96 come year after year, for a musical trip down memory lane.

“They play a song and I’m instantly back on Kiefaber Street,” Raclaw says. “There’s a lot of nostalgia.”

Others see it as a way to connect with friends and do something good at the same time.

Drummer and vocalist Steve Sanpietro, a father of two boys, says “getting to jump behind the kit with the band for the first time in 17 years was fantastic.”

“The best part, however, is that the night benefits someone else.”

More than $6,000 was raised this year, a record-setting amount that Loncar hopes to surpass next year.

In fact, the band is already hard at work tweaking the set list for LLCF 2015 and they’re hoping to play the class of 1996’s 20th reunion in 2016.

Hellcat hangover, indeed.

Molly Blake is a freelance writer and fellow class of 1996 grad. She’s holding out hope that Hellcat will play Neil Diamond one of these years.

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