Alice Cooper has announced some heavy hitters for his annual Christmas Pudding benefit – the great Paul Rodgers (of Bad Company and Free), Joe Bonamassa, Judas Priest’s Rob Halford and Cooper himself (as you most likely guessed).
More names will be announced as we get closer to the date, which is Dec. 14. It will be held at its home of the past several years, the Celebrity Theatre.
Tickets go on sale this month at a not yet determined date.
Celebrity Charity: Proof is in the Pudding submissions
All proceeds from the concert go to Alice Cooper’s the Rock Teen Center, which is accepting submissions through Friday, Sept. 20, for its annual Proof is in the Pudding contest, a competition that provides opportunities for young musicians ages 12-25, including an opening slot at Pudding for the top band and top solo artist.
There’s a Proof is in the Pudding kickoff party at the Rock Teen Center on Friday, Sept. 27, with the first round of competitions to follow Oct. 8-10 at the center.
There are a total of four rounds at four different venues. Round two is at Paradise Valley Community College. Round three is at Desert Ridge. And this year’s finals will be held at Mesa Arts Center.
Celebrity Charity: What to expect if you apply
Last year, about 120 bands or solo acts applied, for a total of more than 320 musicians from all different types of genres. Of those about 100 acts participated in the actual competition.
Randy Spencer, who handles partnerships and fundraising for Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock, says, “We do weed it down a little bit. But the majority of the people that don’t make it have told us, ‘Oh, I’ve only been playing guitar for a week’ or ‘I’ve only been a band for three days.’ They’re just not really ready for it yet. We do want to encourage kids as a charity, but it is a competition to also open for Alice Cooper. So we do want a bare minimum of talent level to be there in the competition.”
In addition to a slot on Christmas Pudding, the winning band gets $1,500 while the winning solo act gets $750.
Even those who don’t win will have opportunities throughout the year from having taken part.
“We took eight kids to see Cheap Trick backstage last month,” Spencer says. “We have young musicians going to Experience Hendrix at Mesa Arts Center, where they’ll get to meet a lot of famous musicians like Joe Satriani. Four weeks ago at our Teen Center, we had musicians from the competition on stage with Rob Halford of Judas Priest. So just by being in the competition, even if you don’t win, you may receive a lot of other amazing opportunities.”
Plus, there’s the center itself, an opportunity that just keeps giving.
“The Teen Center is a completely safe space for kids from 12 to 20,” Spencer says. “It’s all creative types. We have a free dance studio. We have an art studio. We have opportunities for them to be mentored by local Valley musicians such as Ray Ortiz from Stevie Nicks’ band and David Ellefson from Megadeth. It’s just a great amazing positive space where kids can just be kids. And they can learn. They can learn to play the guitar for the first time, they can form bands for the first time, they can hang out be mentored by people like Alice and Sheryl Cooper.”
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