The Win/Win

What started with a simple comment about giving back to the community quick

ly gained traction when Michael Vai, owner of VAI’s Italian, contacted his rockstar guitarist brother, Steve, to see if he’d be interested in donating his time and talents for charity. That phone call eventually manifested into an epic rock concert at Wentz Hall in support of Little Friends and their mission. 


Big hearts with big visions, require a team. Little Friends, VAI’s Italian, Wentz Hall, Blooming Color, Morley Pedals, Two Brothers, and fire + wine came together in February of 2019 and drafted a big plan. Lofty numbers (to small businesses) were thrown out. Could this event raise $25k? Was $50k possible? No one expected the event would raise over $100k net for Little Friends; something that thrilled Steve Vai, Little Friends and partners alike. 


People from all over the US and as far away as Australia flew into Chicago for the benefit concert. There were rare opportunities for participants to meet Steve and his band, and other opportunities for fans to see the band’s (often-private) sound check process, up close and personal. Local students at School of Rock in Glen Ellyn were invited for a once in a lifetime experience to open for Steve. August 3rd & 4th marked a very special moment in time for many. 


Many thanks to Morley Pedals for donating two, one-of-a-kind, fully wrapped, custom Wah Wah Pedals; to Two Brothers for donating to the concert’s Black Box event; to Blooming Color for providing amazing printed graphics; to Wentz Hall for providing an outstanding, organized, and beautiful venue experience, and to fire + wine for donating to the cause. Together, with the help of partners, concert goers, and private donors, the event raised a gross total of $140,000 for Little Friends. 


The Vai family are deeply grateful to everyone who collaborated on, and showed up for this spectacular charity event. As the family says, “Onwards & Upwards.”



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