B-Tropical will perform in the Sandy Hook Elementary Benefit Concert.
B-Tropical will perform in the Sandy Hook Elementary Benefit Concert. (SUBMITTED)
Judi Scarpelli couldn't stop thinking about Newtown, Conn.

She said she had to do something for those who lost loved ones Friday morning after a gunman opened fire in Sandy Hook Elementary School. Those families have been her focus after more than 72 hours of phone calls and little sleep.

The Glen Rock stay-at-home mom volunteered to help her neighbor Dan Karst organize a benefit concert in Newtown. Scarpelli said she didn't have any connection to the town prior to last weekend. She added that she doesn't have event-planing experience, but is used to juggling the schedules of her two daughters, 17 and 10.

A flurry of calls and emails connected her to Newtown's Pub25 American Grille, which serves locally sourced comfort food and micro brews to patrons by a stone fireplace. The bar, on the town's Main Street, was interested in organizing a series of benefit concerts for the grieving community.

More calls led Scarpelli to B-Topical, a York-based reggae band, that agreed to play the first of those concerts tonight at Pub25. Norwalk, Conn. performer Mystic Bowie will be making a guest appearance at the fundraiser.

Hundreds of people have liked the pub's Facebook posts about the benefit show.

Scarpelli said that even though it usually seats about 75, the restaurant is expecting about 300 people at the show. She added that she made a call to the Newtown Savings Bank, which is coordinating the Sandy Hook School Support Fund. Proceeds from the show will go to the fund, which will be used to provide support services to the families and community.

"We're never going to be able to take away their sorrow," Scarpelli said. But as she watched B-Topical leave for Newtown Wednesday afternoon, she felt like a small part of a larger relief effort.

"They are going up there for free," she added of the band. "Nobody is getting paid."

The group has performed at other fundraisers and charity events. In a 2011 interview with FlipSide, vocalist and guitarist Yvon Tatafasa talked about performing at a York concert to benefit victims of the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

"I wrote a song called 'Can't You Hear?'," he said. "When the earthquake in Haiti happened. I wrote that song . . . for the children of Haiti."

Scarpelli was not able to attend the Newtown concert, but is interested in organizing a York County benefit show.

"I really wish I could have gone, but my girls need me," she said.


Read a 2011 interview with B-Tropical Mystic Bowie: www.mysticbowie.com

Pub25 American Grille:www.facebook.com/Pub25AmericanGrille

About the concert and support fund

The Sandy Hook Elementary Benefit Concert is slated for 9 tonight at Pub25 American Grille in Newtown, Conn. There is a $20 cover charge, which will include a drink and music from York band B-Tropical. All proceeds go to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund.

Monetary donations can be send to:

Sandy Hook School Support Fund

c/o Newtown Savings Bank

39 Main Street, Newtown CT 06470

Local show

Judi Scarpelli said she is interested in organizing a York County benefit concert to for families affected by the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Local bands and people who would like to help can reach her at 717-681-3479 or judi.scarpelli@gmail.com.

Newtown news

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