In celebration of its 10th anniversary, the Palmdale Amphitheater this fall will offer a variety of concerts and events that are practically guaranteed to peak the interest of fine arts fans and those who owe a debt of gratitude to military veterans. Marie Kerr Park will also feature a number of events to coincide with the music venue anniversary.

On Saturday, Oct. 4, G-Com Services will present a concert to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. Musical acts will include Emote, featuring Billy Sherwood, formerly of the iconic rock band Yes, and Felix Pollard, a former drummer for Chaka Kahn, Clay Aiken and Jessica Simpson. The Joel Hatcher Band, Runaway and Boulevard Knights will also perform this fall.

Gates at the “Amp” will open for the concert at 11 a.m. with starting ceremonies beginning at noon. General admission tickets are $10, and children under 12 years are admitted free with an accompanying adult. Veterans and active military personnel are admitted free with a military identification card.

Supporting Wounded Warrior Project

Since 2003, the Wounded Warrior Project has created a variety of needed programs, services and events for military personnel who returned home physically and mentally wounded from combat in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Among the services are Combat Stress Recovery, Project Odyssey and Restore Warriors. The organization also offers long-term support initiatives and physical health and wellness programs.

The popular Soldier Ride provides these veterans with a little time motoring with friends along the nation’s highways and byways. Wounded Warrior Project also operates a Transition Training Academy and the Warriors to Work program to help veterans regain their economic footing. There are also family support groups and benefits services.

G-Com Services provides support to existing charitable organizations and local events in the Antelope Valley community, and also establishes its own charity events and community services.

“This will be a family-friendly event that will include a variety of great live music by local bands,” said G-Com Services President Lemuel Galvao. “We’ll have something for everyone—Country, Classic Rock, Blues, Progressive Rock and Latin Rock. We encourage the community to come out to the beautiful Palmdale Amphitheater for an afternoon of music, food, fun and to help raise funds and awareness for our wounded soldiers.”

The music on tap

Emote formed recently as a progressive Rock band which features not only Sherwood on lead guitar, but also includes Matt McBride on bass and Kristy Love on lead vocal and rhythm guitar.

Runaway was formed in 2010 after lead guitarist, Jim Hinds, and Jay Bonanno—the latter spending off hours as a prep soccer coach—collaborated in writing and recording some of their favorite melodies. The group includes Bonanno’s father—a retired carpenter with more than a half-century of guitar work to his credit; he provides vocal harmonies group that contribute greatly to the band’s signature sound.

Jim Deverian—another general contractor adding to the “blue collar” theme of this group—plays rhythm guitar, bass and percussion. Then there’s Ruben Guiterrez, an urban planner and real estate executive, who was originally inspired on the upright bass by the British Invasion of the mid-1960s and also provides harmonies. Guiterrez has played with many famous Rock, Country and Jazz groups and has also performed with a number of Las Vegas show bands.

Palmdale’s own Boulevard Knights

The Boulevard Knights began in Palmdale in the late 1950s. Three childhood friends, Abel Garza, and Richie and Albert Leon, began by entertaining relatives and close friends with their renditions of classic tunes by Chuck Berry, Santana, Wilson Pickett and similar Rock ’N Roll greats. As the years went on, their sound would evolve from the typical “garage band” to more eclectic melodies. Each group member comes with training and/or experience in musical styles that range from Classical, Jazz, Rock, Salsa, traditional Latin and even Big Band swing. Members of Boulevard Knights have played with The Spiral Staircase, Poncho Sanchez, Bobby Caldwell, Rick James, Mary Wells and as far back as Richie Valens and “King” Soloman Burke.

Jazz great Tom Scott has also performed with the Boulevard Knights and one former member of the band, Gil Rocha, was part of the ’50s group The Silhouettes (“Get A Job”) famous for introducing to the world Pacoima’s own Richie Valens. When Valens died in 1959, Rocha worked to keep the young star’s memory alive and campaigned vigorously to have him inducted into the Rock “n Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.

Another group scheduled for the amphiteater, The Joel Hatcher Band, is strictly rooted in American music. They perform New Orleans Funk, as well as Soul, Blues, Rock and a variety of genres from the 1960s and ’70s. Among their influences are Stevie Wonder, Marshall Tucker and “guitar heroes” T-Bone Walker and Stevie Ray Vaughn.

The Making Stides Against Breast Cancer 5K Walk will take place on Saturday, Oct. 18 at Marie Kerr Park, 2723 W. Rancho Vista Blvd. Last year, the second annual event drew several hundred participants who joined in the national crusade to raise awareness and collect funds to fight breast cancer. This disease remains the number-one public health concern facing women.

This annual event has changed the face of breast cancer in communities nationwide by funding cutting-edge research, advocating for all women to have access to mammograms and treatments, and also providing free local educational programs and supportive services. Registration will take place at 7 a.m. followed by the walk at 8 a.m. For more details, call (800) 227-2345 or visit www.makingStridesWalk.org/AntelopeValley. You may also contact Ima Moore, chairperson of the event, at emooreno4@msn.com.

From Thursday, Nov. 6 through 11 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 11, Point Man Antelope Valley and the City of Palmdale will present the Mobile Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, popularly known locally as the “AV Wall.” The public will have 24-hour access to the AV Wall while it is on display. Taps will be played nightly at 10. A special Candlelight Memorial Walk at 9 p.m. Nov. 9 will honor the 76 persons from the Antelope Valley who served and died in the Vietnam War.

Special Veteran’s Day salute

A Veterans Day closing ceremony celebration is scheduled for 11 a.m., Nov. 11. This is a special event in recognition of Veterans Day as well as to pay tribute to the Antelope Valley Service Organization’s annual Veterans Day Ceremony which will be held in front of the AV Wall, one of only two mobile walls that are engraved, and the only one designed like the original Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. It measures about 250 feet long and stands six feet high. In all, 58,299 names of those killed or missing in action are engraved on the monument. From 2005-2009, more than $100,000 was raised to build the wall and it was dedicated at a ceremony at Palmdale’s Joe Davies Heritage Airpark at Palmdale Plant 42 on Nov. 13, 2009. Point Man Antelope Valley is the guardian of the AV Wall and has dedicated a committee to oversee all aspects of the memorial. For more information about the AV Wall, call (661) 524-6408 or visit www.avwall.org.

The Amp at Marie Kerr Park is widely considered to be the Antelope Valley’s premier outdoor entertainment venue, providing audiences with a unique blend of high-energy concert performances and community-based events. Convenient to much of the Los Angeles Basin, the Palmdale Amphitheater has few visual obstructions and offers comfortable, grassy seating areas. Each weekend during the summer the venue plays host to Friday movie nights and regular concerts on Saturdays.

For many years, the City of Palmdale hosted the Starlight Concert Series on a baseball field at Marie Kerr Park, and guests would arrive traditionally as early as 3 p.m. to stake out their spots, spread out their blankets and watch the entertainment on a portable stage. Years ago the facility hosted much smaller events prior to the concerts, including Family Western Days, the Taste of the Valley culinary showcase and the popular Fourth Saturday Cruise. That arrangement changed when organizers found the venue was far too small to accommodate the many people who became accustomed to visiting the outdoor venue each weekend.

In 2005, Palmdale residents voted for a bond measure to provide funds for the construction of the state-of-the-art Palmdale Amphitheater which now includes permanent restrooms, food service and even a genuine “green” room for the many entertainers who would soon book Palmdale on their yearly performance schedules.

The Summer Concert Series at Palmdale Amphitheater this summer featured a variety of popular acts, including Country star Phil Vassar, R&B legends The Whispers, the popular Banda ensemble Banda Machos, teen star Zendaya and Fifth Harmony. Family Movie Nights returned after a one-year absence and drew thousands of viewers. Among the local sponsors for the concert series and the movie presentations were American Medical Response, Antelope Valley Mall, Double D Cupcakes, Lancaster JetHawks, Lockheed Martin, Time Warner Cable News, Valleywide Dental and Ventura Graphix.