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2nd Annual Music Against Myeloma Raises 10K for IMF
By Michael Armillay
Everything about hosting charity events I learned in kindergarten. I was five. My job was to rattle a metal box and say "greatly appreciated." After five minutes and an empty box, I gave up. I knew it was good cause, but I couldn’t figure out how to convince others what I knew. It is fortunate that Slava Rubin, founder and organizer of Music Against Myeloma, doesn't have that problem.
05.15.07

Everything about hosting charity events I learned in kindergarten. I was five. My job was to rattle a metal box and say "greatly appreciated." After five minutes and an empty box, I gave up. I knew it was good cause, but I couldn’t figure out how to convince others what I knew. Eventually, I grew into following convictions: one, raising awareness is difficult; two, raising money is more difficult; and three, charity events are not exciting. It is fortunate that Slava Rubin, founder and organizer of Music Against Myeloma, didn’t grow into the same convictions.

On April 24th, Music Against Myeloma raised ten thousand dollars in tribute to Slava’s father, Mark Rubin, who passed away from the disease in 1993. This was my first time attending, and like the other 159 people there, I was impressed. After mulling over the highlights, I decided to reveal Slava’s secrets: What I never learned about hosting a successful event.

  1. Have the event at the Cutting Room. Located in the shadows of the Flatiron Building, this is an excellent place to hear bands.

  2. Provide excellent music. Music Against Myeloma featured the cool acoustics of Benji Rogers, the autumnal riffs of Lost In October (led by Matt Ostrower, also the event's music director) and the dynamic vocals of Josh Walker. (Josh is currently recording with Sony.)

  3. Find top-notch sponsors. Artisanal Premium Cheese served up some of the best Fiscalini Bandaged Cheddar ever tasted. Sugar Sweet Sunshine (located in the Lower East Side) baked cupcakes that were so good they prompted several conversations about cupcakes. Harpoon Brewery sponsored great cold beer.

  4. Sell top-notch socks. Cecilia Rubin, Slava’s sister-in-law, personally delivered Pralin socks especially designed for the event (and they sold like hot cakes).

  5. Invite Grandstand Sports to set up a silent sports memorabilia auction. They showcased some really cool stuff. (And even if someone outbids you on that autographed Pele ball you always wanted, it will allow for an opportunity to talk with Sharon, the charming woman who ran the auction.)

  6. Ask Kendra Shedenhelm to create the event’s design and Kezi to take care of photos.

  7. Auction an iPod. Pierre Gooding won the hot pink shuffle that was raffled at the door. Just think a business card for an iPod? If only it was always that easy.

  8. Involve an incredible organization. Suzanne Battaglia flew in from the International Myeloma Foundation’s headquarters in Hollywood to speak about the amazing strides myeloma research has made since 1993.

  9. Make it like home. With friends and family attending from seven states and three countries, Slava and the host committee made everybody feel comfortable and welcome. (And as usual, Slava’s mother kept insisting I eat more food.)

Fifteen years from now, when Slava is planning his next event, when Joe Queenan is writing this article and U2 is opening for Josh Walker, I’ll remember my foolish ill-begotten notions about charity events: they can impact; they can entertain. Music Against Myeloma did an impressive job raising awareness and funding research. And it was a great night out with family and friends.I have formed the following conviction: Myeloma will soon be a thing of the past.

Click here to see a slideshow from the event.


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