By Mike Briotta
LONGMEADOW -- It's been a busy and charitable summer for Longmeadow resident and world-class rocker Aaron Lewis of the Springfield band Staind.
A live version of the band's song "Everything Changes" was featured on a benefit CD titled "Music Hits Home" released July 16, and lead singer Lewis was also scheduled to speak at the Basketball Hall of Fame Aug. 10 to promote a benefit concert on Saturday in Northampton.
"It was just released in July and we're very happy to have Dave Matthews Band, Phish, The Allman Brothers, and other musicians on this CD," Casey Mosca, office manager for Kevin Youkilis Hits for Kids said of the new release. "It's doing very well [in terms of sales] considering the project is only a few weeks old."
She added that Youkilis, of the Red Sox, chose the various acts contributing to the CD and was very excited to hear that Staind would participate.
The album is a compilation of songs performed by today's top national and New England recording artists.
A portion of the proceeeds of all CD sales will be donated to Christopher's Haven, a nonprofit group that provides housing for families and children being treated for cancer.
Staind's contribution to the CD has been described by the Youkilis foundation as a "beautiful and haunting live acoustic sound."
The hard rock group's decade-long career has seen worldwide album sales in excess of 13 million and five #1 singles spanning three different radio formats.
Tuesday's appearance by Lewis was scheduled as part of the Hall of Fame's Celebration of Basketball on Children's Day.
Lewis was slated to appear at the Basketball Hall of Fame's Center Court at noon to speak about the importance of education and his It Takes a Community Foundation.
The Atlantic recording artist planned to conduct a question-and-answer session with fans, and then play a two-song acoustic set to promote his upcoming benefit concert in Northampton.
To mark the occasion, the Hall promised to provide each fan who attends the Aug. 14 Aaron Lewis & Friends benefit concert with a ticket for free admission to the Hall of Fame museum to be used in the month of August.
The Aug. 14 performance is to benefit the It Takes A Community Foundation at The Pines Theatre at Look Park in Northampton.
The foundation was started by Lewis and his wife, Vanessa, with a focus on reviving rural communities throughout greater New England.
"I'm so honored that the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame has chosen to partner with me and the It Takes A Community Foundation to support our local community," said Lewis in a press release.
"I have a tremendous amount of gratitude for the organization ... and its willingness to help us achieve our shared goal of giving our kids the tools they need at an early age to achieve great things later on."
Paul Lambert, vice president of guest experience and programming for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, said the feeling is mutual.
"As a Springfield native, Aaron Lewis values the interconnection between basketball, music and education in our community," Lambert commented.
"He has been working arduously through his It Takes a Community foundation to stress the importance of education and help improve opportunities for youth in our region."
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