Grand Lake: Benefit raises funds for Independent Sports Club |

Grand Lake: Benefit raises funds for Independent Sports Club

by Cyndi McCoy
Grand Lake, Colorado

Grand Lake, Colorado ” When Mickey Sandora plays guitar these days, no one could tell that for most of the past year he had a serious injury to his left arm.

As a strong-willed, seasoned guitar player (lead, rhythm and lap steel), he had the strength to come out of the snowstorm and snowmobile accident and is once again shining on stage with 3rd Time Lucky.

While Sandora has been building guitar amplifiers for Category 5 and working a little bit with bands like Stereomaid, he, wife Trish Leone and Gary Birch have been enthusiastically working on new original material.

Sandora’s fortunate recovery is an amazing story and 3rd Time Lucky’s music is just a minor reason to check out the 6th Annual Holiday Gala. The event is a major fundraiser for the Independent Sports Club. It is also benefit near to the heart of the band, which played for the event last year. The group has been tuning up to play their signature Americana and alternative country for the affair this week.

The Independent Sports Club was founded in 1981 to promote, support and sponsor the education, athletic and social experiences of Grand County youth. During the summer the ISC helped the Middle Park High School science camp take a trip to visit the Alaska SeaLife Center. This past fall the organization granted a little over $2,000 to three youths to participate in gymnastics programs. In addition, the club gives $2,000 scholarships each year to select graduating students.

It is efforts like those that are behind 3rd Time Lucky’s performance and the annual event. Last year’s event helped raise more than $15,000.

“I think it is not only to make people feel good but also to bring attention to some of the smallest details that make life so amazing and worth living,” said Leone of her band’s part in the benefit.

Leone is the main singer and songwriter for the band. She also plays bass and rhythm guitar. She has written around 30 new songs in the past year, including “Perfect Strangers,” written with musician Jon Coleman during a visit with her estranged father who lives in Nashville. She said 3rd Time Lucky will premier it and about five other new songs.

With more songs than what they can perform in one show, Leone said they are at an interesting place right now. Because of that, they’ll also be going into the studio to record a new album following the holidays. “I am easily inspired,” Leone said, adding that her influences change almost on a daily basis. “Life is full of so many rich treasures, you just have to find them, and pay attention.”

One of her many inspirations are the “beautiful souls and interesting people” in the community, like those who volunteer for and support the ISC. The organizers are good friends of the band, she said. “Good people, good cause, what else could you want? … People who believe in what you are doing are what keep you going and striving to create something of value.”

She, Sandora and Birch (drums, cajon) have been playing together since 2004 and Leone said when she brings Birch and Sandora a song, “They give it wings; it is absolutely amazing.”

Gala attire is mountain casual to black tie, as patrons enjoy live and silent auctions, dinner and dancing.

The ISC Gala, along with the ISC Golf Tournament and independent contributions from the community, allows the organization to continue providing area youth fund assistance to encourage them in “reaching their goals and achieving their dreams,” say Laura Summers, gala co-chair with Dee Mullinex.

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