The Idle Time Band,
Lambert and Gaylor
And Danielle Westphal
Benefit for Fairfax City
7 p.m. Saturday
Two things we know for sure: Firefighters are heroes, and times are tight, funding-wise, for many good causes. This weekend, you can help out the heroes at Fairfax City Stations 3 and 33 just by eating, drinking and listening to live music. How is this everybody-wins situation possible?
Give some props to Harry Demetriou, owner of Firehouse Grill, which is hosting Saturday's benefit for the City of Fairfax Professional Firefighters and Paramedics Association. The association is raising funds for its firefighters combat challenge team to enter regional competition with hopes that it will move up to the nationwide event, to be broadcast on ESPN.
According to the Web site www.firefighter-challenge.com, "competitors simulate the physical demands of real-life firefighting by performing a linked series of five tasks including climbing the five-story tower, hoisting, chopping, dragging hoses and rescuing a life-sized, 175 lb. 'victim' as they race against themselves, their opponent and the clock." You don't have to be a wide-eyed kid to think that's pretty cool.
Firehouse Grill is the perfect venue. The restaurant was con- verted from the original firehouse, and Station 33 is now down the street. "They're right there, and we're right here," Demetriou said in telling how he got involved. "Every once in a while, you have to do something good."
The musical program promises to be a comfortable romp through American music, as all the acts on the bill are local favorites well versed in pop classics.
When vocalist Danielle Westphal released "High Standards," her first album in 2002, the All Music Guide counted her among "the most talented and entertaining jazz performers" in the D.C. area, praising her "lilting delivery" and "keen sense of timing, which adds freshness to the material."
Since devoting herself full time to singing a few years back, vocalist Westphal has performed at the White House and Blues Alley, along with keeping regular local gigs like a Thursday night residency at Mama's Italian Restaurant and a well-received run at a French restaurant in Georgetown. (Considering she was born in Paris and once did jingles for Radio Monte Carlo, that was a natural, too). Westphal usually appears with her own pianist or a jazz trio, but this night she'll be singing with old friends -- the other two bands on the bill.
Playing "citified country rock originals" and honky-tonk favorites, Ken Giese is a prolific songwriter. He's written about 100 tunes and recorded about 60 with his various projects, the Circle K Band, the Backyard Blues Band -- which got Janet Reno dancing barefoot at a holiday party! -- and his stalwart companions, the Idle Time Band.
Ed Lambert and Carol Gaylor are veteran Washington area performers using piano, guitar and vocals to cover popular music from Billie Holiday to Billy Joel, Irving Berlin to Bonnie Raitt, Patsy Cline to Sheryl Crow.
-- Marianne Meyer
Firehouse Grill is at 3988 University Dr. in Fairfax City. For a $10 donation at the door, attendees will get a free buffet, raffles and other amusements fit for the entire family and close to five hours of music. The doors open at 6 p.m, and the music starts at 7. Cash bar. 703-383-1030.
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