By LINDA WOODLAND
FOR THE COURIER
FOSTORIA — A Hancock County man is combining his love of music with his desire to pay it back, and even forward.
Robert Rodman of McComb is organizing a celebration of the music and bands of the 1960s and ’70s with the goal of raising money for a local nonprofit.
Northwest Ohio 60’s and 70’s Rockin’ Reunion will get underway at noon Sunday at Venue 18, 11295 Ohio 18, Fostoria. The $5 admission fee includes over eight hours of live entertainment featuring the Together Band, Fresh Air and Apple Mary, as well as a tribute to Findlay legends the Nite Watchmen. Children 12 and younger will get in free.
The event will include door prizes and a silent auction featuring items such as posters signed by the performing bands, a guitar signed by Alan Jackson, a 45 RPM signed by Fred John of the Nite Watchmen and many other items.
All proceeds will go to Cancer Patient Services, a nonprofit agency that helped Rodman’s family when his son, Wesley, was diagnosed at age 2 with leukemia. Wesley is now 9 years old and is in great health.
“I can’t speak their praises enough. They helped us out and a lot of people I know,” Rodman said, adding the agency contributed about $5,000 toward the care of his son.
“Personally, I’d like to at least match that amount.”
A drummer himself, Rodman was motivated by an old amplifier owned by his father, Steve, who was a founding member of the Arlington band Sky Blue Fluff, which played live on the roof of Terry’s Drive-In in the summer of 1970.
“I grew up in the ’80s listening to ’60s music. That’s just what Dad played around the house. That’s how we were raised, and that’s how I raised my kids,” he said, adding his children all play guitar.
“That’s how this whole thing happened was my dad brought his bass amplifier over to my house for the kids and we got to talking about it.”
His father told him the amp once belonged to The Nite Watchmen, a legendary Findlay group unfamiliar to Rodman.
“So I started researching and that’s how the (Facebook) page got started … just me trying to find out more information.”
The Facebook page has since taken off, with nearly 600 fans and former band members sharing newspaper clippings, photographs and memories of the region’s favorite ’60s and ’70s bands.
Rodman said in addition to the four confirmed acts, there will also be jams in between the sets.
“That’s just anybody who doesn’t have a band anymore or who wants to play with their friends. We’ll have all the gear up (on stage) so they can get up and play.”
Rodman may participate in some of the jams, but for the most part he will be seeing to it that everything runs smoothly.
“So I might be running in circles,” he said with a laugh.
Each band is expected to play 60 to 90-minute sets with the jams in between.
“I know a lot of the guys in the bands are looking forward to partaking in the jams. A lot of these bands might have one guy who played in three or four other bands back in the day,” he said, adding this is their opportunity to join former bandmates on stage.
And many of the bands haven’t played together since the 1970s.
“Apple Mary, they are reuniting just for this and they are looking forward to playing together more after our show,” he said.
For Rodman, the rich local history with these rock bands is fascinating.
“And that they are coming back. For me, that’s really exciting.”
Although he wasn’t around when the bands were rocking the area, Rodman is excited to be a part of it now.
“I’m living vicariously through them. And these guys, they’ve been around for awhile and they’re like teenagers again. They are all excited about it.”