CELORON - Several local musicians will put their talents to use in remembrance of one of their own.
On Sunday, the Celoron Legion will play host to the first annual "Randy Jam," a six-hour celebration of the life of Randy Hofgren, who passed away in February at the age of 42 after a brief illness.
Hofgren, a lifelong area resident, was a highly respected musician who played with several local acts, including Synergy and Underground Stampede. He also lent his bass-playing abilities to the Sean Patrick McGraw Band for several years, and toured with the group over the course of 2009 and 2010 opening for country music superstars Toby Keith and Eric Church.
Randy Hofgren, a local musician who passed away unexpectedly earlier this year, is pictured performing while on tour with the Sean Patrick McGraw Band.
According to McGraw, Hofgren exuded an imposing presence while performing on stage - a characteristic McGraw said he would be hard-pressed to find in anyone else.
"He was a big guy who lived large, and everybody who knew him loved him," McGraw said. "When he passed, it really struck me how it seemed like everybody I talked to thought the world of him. The members of my group are like brothers, and it was just a tragic and untimely thing to lose him."
McGraw also described Hofgren as an avid muscle car and motorcycle enthusiast, as well as an outdoorsman, reader and witty conversationalist with a sly sense of humor.
"Randy's life shouldn't be defined just by being a musician," he said. "Although, I would say other musicians held him in high esteem. He played with maturity and taste, and it's really left a void not having him around."
Due to the innumerable amount of people Hofgren left behind, and the small size of the initial service that was held by his family following his passing, McGraw said there was a general consensus among Hofgren's friends and bandmates that a memorial of some sort should be organized.
"He had so many friends, and we all just felt that we needed to get together and do something in his honor," McGraw said. "And I'm going to assume, based on Randy's popularity, that we're going to have a lot of people come out for this."
McGraw said he had little trouble finding bands to play for the benefit, while others came out of the woodwork for the opportunity to play in memory of Randy.
The band lineup will feature: The Sean Patrick McGraw Band, We Speak Canadian, The Bogarts, Smokin' 45, Underground Stampede, American Ride Band, and Derek Davis and the Tasty Groove. Entertainment between acts will be provided by DJ Felony.
The "Randy Jam" benefit will run from 1-7 p.m. at the Celoron Legion. Admission is $5, and the proceeds will go to Randy's family to help offset the costs they incurred during his time in the hospital. There will be a Chinese auction, and a barbecue dinner will be catered by Desperados Catering of Angola.
McGraw said attendees of all ages are welcome.
"We wanted it to be family-friendly, so that's why we're holding it at the legion," he said. "I really wanted to have a gathering where we could just celebrate what a great guy he was, and the fact that we knew him and had him in our lives. I'm looking forward to having people that knew Randy, and had him in common, get together and reminisce."