Cure GM1 Charity Concert featuring James Reams & the Barnstormers

September 7, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 


Vail Theatre of the Arts

is proud to present

Cure GM1 Charity Concert

Saturday, December 10, 2016

7:00 pm


Cure GM1 Charity Concert


James Reams and the Barnstormers, Marilee Kay, Havin A Blast, Trevor Thompson, The Vail Chorale, The Vail Youth Symphony Chamber Orchestra, and The Desert Aires Chorus.

Hosted by Vail Laughs Clean Comedy! 

Saturday, December 10, 2016 – 7:00 pm


GM1 is a rare, deadly and debilitating genetic disease. GM1 research at Auburn and UMass Medical Schools is awaiting FDA approval for a clinical trial for GM1. The Cure GM1 Foundation has raised about 60% of the funding needed to complete a trial for these children. Marilee Kay and the performers at this event want to further this cause with the goal of GM1 children being treated in 2017. This Gene Therapy research at Auburn is very promising and could be a lifesaving cure for these children.


Eli and Evan are local brothers with GM1 Gangliosidosis, they have a big sister named Laya who helps watch out for them. Although Eli and Evan don’t have the most aggressive form of the disease, infantile GM1, they do have the late infantile type. Children with Late Infantile and Juvenile GM1, gradually lose their ability to walk, talk, swallow food, smile, move and even breath. Eli and Evan’s family were grateful for the first few years of normal and happy progression before the disorder began to manifest itself, but find it very sad and devastating to now watch them struggle to do even the most simple tasks. Marilee Kay, the mother of these two boys, has been using her music to raise awareness and funds for the Cure GM1 Foundation and is now serving on the Foundation’s board as their Secretary. She, along with the help of many supporters is organizing this event to help raise funds to Cure GM1.




James Reams and the Barnstormers

James Reams & the Barnstormers tread the terrain where bluegrass, old-time, classic country and folk meet in the night to swap stories. They feature driving rhythm and 3-part harmonies that take you back to a time before bluegrass was smoothed out for the uninitiated, the ill prepared or the faint of heart. The band includes James on guitar and lead vocals; Billy Parker on mandolin and harmony; Dick Brown on banjo and harmony; and Dan Meyer on upright bass.

  • James Reams has been a bluegrass bandleader for over 20 years. Coming from a family of traditional singers in southeastern Kentucky, James has played both old-time and bluegrass music since he was just a little sprout. James is known as an “ambassador of Bluegrass” for his dedication to and deep involvement in the thriving bluegrass and Americana music community.
  • Billy Parker brings passion and style to every set. A former member of the Southern CA band, Lost Highway, Billy has developed a confident and spirited approach to seamlessly move between the rapid-fire bluegrass tunes and more soulful melodies.
  • Dick Brown’s precise and rock solid banjo playing and silky baritone vocals reflect the influence of those he admires most: Bill Emerson and Alan Munde. He joined Lost Highway in 1995 and recorded and toured with that band until 2006. Dick has performed with such notables as Lynn Morris, David Parmley and Laurie Lewis.
  • Dan Meyer has been playing the ultimate “out of the spotlight” instrument, aka the upright bass, since the 1970s. He has performed at the IBMA Bluegrass Showdown in Louisville and at bluegrass festivals across the Midwest. Holding down the bottom for the Barnstormers with his rock steady and intuitive bass stylings, Dan really lights up the place with his ready smile while laying down a smooth rhythm.



Marilee KayMarilee Kay

Marilee Kay Leishman is the Mother of three children, two of which have GM1 Gangliosidosis. She has used her love for music to help raise funds and awareness for GM1. She is joined by Whitney Olsen on the Violin and Janei Evans on the Viola. Marilee wrote and recorded “Sweet Angels” to musically share a parent’s perspective in dealing with a child’s diagnosis, a terminal disease and the emotions that go along with it. She will perform Sweet Angels along with her new song “Army”. Army was written to thank the army of people who have supported her and her family and to thank all those who do good in the world.


Havin A BlastHavin’ a BLAST

Since it’s inception in 2003, Havin’ a BLAST has entertained Arizona and Sweet Adelines with their 4-part barbershop harmony. Original members Elissa Fazio (Lead) and Molly Gerbi (Tenor) have kept the group singing, even under several member changes. In 2012 Sandy Hodges (Baritone) joined the group, and now our final addition Teresa Tayler (Bass) completes the quartet. Our favorite genres include 1940s, 50s, and, well, anything we can harmonize to.


Desert Aires ChorusDesert-Aires

What do you get when you add young vocal performers and a little “Diva(o)” attitude? You get Desert Willow Elementary School’s very own Desert-Aires Chorus. Since Mrs. Gerbi took over the music program in 2011, she has had the opportunity to share vocal skills, showmanship, and a little bit of “ham” with her 3rd-5th grade after-school music students. Combine Desert-Aires Chorus and Mrs. Gerbi’s professional a-cappella barbershop quartet, Havin’ a BLAST and you can’t miss having a fun time for a GREAT cause. Sit back, relax and enjoy the show!


vail_youth_symphonyVail Youth Symphony

The Vail Youth Symphony is a non-profit organization currently in it’s 3rd year of providing quality music education to young musicians. VYS has 100 participating players ranging ages 6-20 from Vail, Tucson, Catalina Foothills, Corona de Tucson, Benson, and Wilcox. This year the organization has 3 groups: Full Symphony (with winds and percussion), Chamber, and String orchestras. Each serve different levels of players. The Chamber orchestra will be performing in the charity concert to support raising awareness for GM1.



The Vail Chorale

The Vail Chorale is a non-audition community chorus on Tucson’s east side, welcoming singers of all ages and levels of musical experience. Founded in Fall 2011 by Director Fred Reinagel, the Chorale has held nine sessions. The Vail Chorale performs a varied repertoire, from folk ballads and Broadway tunes to classical styles from across the centuries to contemporary composers. Visit for information on joining the Chorale.

Trevor Thompson

Trevor Thompson

Trevor Thompson grew up in Tucson. He started playing guitar at age twelve after he and his brother asked their mother if they could play around with her guitar. His grandfather Rudy Thompson was the choral director for Rincon High School and was kind enough to give him voice lessons. He is currently a songwriter whose fans include his four young children and his wife!


Tickets will be available at the door on the night of the show for $10.

For information call Richard at 879-3925.

Note: The Vail Theatre of the Arts is located on the southeast side of Tucson, 2 miles north of I-10 and 2 miles south of Valencia, about 1/2 mile east of Houghton on Mary Ann Cleveland Way. Turn at the entrance to Empire High School. If you haven’t been to the theatre before, we strongly suggest visiting our location page .


CureGM1 Foundation Charity concert

January 4, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Marilee Leishman