Congratulations to Bob Benjamin, recipient of the 2006 Alan Bonander Humanitarian Award

Fans of the New Jersey Shore music scene know Bob Benjamin for his annual Light of Day concerts that raise money for research to cure Parkinson’s disease and provide funds for the patient support programs of the ALS Association.


L to R: Dawne Allynne, John Eddie, Bob Benjamin, Jesse Malin, Rob Dye, Pete Yorn
LOD6
11/6/05
Starland Ballroom
Sayreville, NJ*


But there is more to Bob than just the world-famous Light of Day shows. He handles virtually every facet of the business for the artists he manages including booking shows, arranging tours and publishing their music.

In 1995 Bob established his own music label, Schoolhouse Records, to put out albums by Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers. While continuing to manage and promote Grushecky, he added several more musicians to his roster including Joe D’Urso and Stone Caravan, Dawne Allynne, and Boccigalupe and the Bad Boys.


L to R: Bob Benjamin and Bruce Springsteen
LOD5
November 6, 2004
Stone Pony
Asbury Park, NJ*



L to R: Joe Grushecky, Bob Benjamin, Michael J. Fox, Bruce Springsteen
LOD4
November 1, 2003
Stone Pony
Asbury Park, NJ*



L to R: Joe Grushecky, Bob Benjamin, Michael J. Fox, Bruce Springsteen
LOD4
November 1, 2003
Stone Pony
Asbury Park, NJ*


Shortly after starting Schoolhouse Records, Bob found himself facing a much bigger challenge; in December 1996, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. “In a way, it was kind of a relief to find out what it was," says Bob, referring to his unexplained symptoms which included a lack of arm movement while walking, stiffness in his shoulders, and general rigidity. "The disease was pretty new to me then. I had read about it in a magazine a few weeks earlier and I fit the symptoms." But, he had no idea of the true nature of his condition until his diagnosis by doctors.

While continuing with his work in the music industry, Bob also found time to create new ways to raise money for Parkinson’s research. In 1998 he threw himself a 40th birthday party and asked for donations to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation in lieu of gifts. Everyone had a great time so Bob threw a bigger party in 2000 for his 42nd birthday. He named it the “Light of Day” Concert and moved the venue to the legendary Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey.

The name “Light of Day” comes from a song Bruce Springsteen wrote for a Paul Schrader film. Schrader had sent Bruce a script for his latest film project under the working title “Born in the USA.” Bruce appropriated “Born in the USA” for the name of his 1984 album and its title song. It was a huge hit. Springsteen followed up by writing the song “Light of Day” as payback to Schrader.

Schrader named his film “Light of Day” with his stars, Michael J. Fox and Joan Jett, singing the title track. The song’s inspiring chorus “Just around the corner to the Light of Day” was an anthem in the movie. In 2000 it became the name and battle cry for Bob’s annual fundraising concert.

In 2004 Bob formed the Light Of Day Foundation, Inc. dedicated to raising funds for research into treatments and a cure as well as support for people living with Parkinson’s and ALS. The foundation is a 501(c)(3 ) tax-exempt corporation. To learn more about it visit the website at www.lightofday.org.




* All photos by John Cavanaugh