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Dec. 15 musical showcase to benefit Watertown Urban Mission

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On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me — a concert to benefit the Watertown Urban Mission.

After a three-year hiatus while co-organizers Rodney W. and Betty J. Richmond relocated to Nashville, Tenn., to help Mr. Richmond pursue a career in country music, the couple is back home, giving back again.

“The idea was to have bands together and bring their respective crowd, and potential new crowds, with the idea of collecting nonperishable items for the food pantry,” Mr. Richmond said.

One event, he said, collected 15,000 food items alone.

The 2013 “12 Bands of Christmas” will take place from noon to 8 p.m. Sunday at the exhibition hall on the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds, off Coffeen Street. Admission to the concert is a canned good, coat, hat, gloves, unwrapped toy, personal hygiene items or monetary donation for the Watertown Urban Mission, 247 Factory St.

Mr. Richmond said the event is held close to Christmas because people tend to be more philanthropic during the holiday season.

The Richmonds also organize a similar event in the summer called “Christmas in July.”

“This is a tradition we’ll stay steadfast on,” Mrs. Richmond said.

Local performers at 12 Bands of Christmas are Mr. Richmond and Whitetail, the Bandits, FFOG, Autumn’s Last Fall, Tom Mitchell, Divided Roads, SWaG, Oshier Country, Ian Wagner, Amarillo, Brittany Cean and Toughluck. Genres of music played will include country, rock, blues and more.

Some artists also will play Christmas music.

There will be two stages set up. While one band plays a 40-minute set, another will be preparing for its turn on the other stage. A Christmas tree will be set up between the two stages where people can drop off the unwrapped toys.

Urban Mission Development Director Andrew G. Mangione said the event will “provide for thousands of families in this difficult winter season when we see an increase in need.”

“When people in the community take on a project like this, it’s a huge blessing because it embraces what the mission does in the community,” he said.

Mr. Richmond said he, too, has been the recipient of “much-needed help while I was growing up.”

He is a Henderson native who graduated from Belleville Henderson Central School in 1984.

The upcoming musical showcase also will have a few vendors present, in case anyone wants to pick up some last-minute gifts, Mr. Richmond said.

For more information, search “Rod Richmond Fan Page” on Facebook.

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