Santa Claus shows off his dance moves at the Rock 4 Tots event Dec. 3 at Rayz Sports Bar in Clinton Township. The event raises money for the Clinton Township Goodfellows’ “No Child Without a Christmas.”

Santa Claus shows off his dance moves at the Rock 4 Tots event Dec. 3 at Rayz Sports Bar in Clinton Township. The event raises money for the Clinton Township Goodfellows’ “No Child Without a Christmas.”

Photo by Sarah Purlee


Rock 4 Tots raises record amount for kids

Annual concert event helps buy children Christmas gifts

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published December 11, 2017

 Funhouse vocalist Pam Polonis performs.

Funhouse vocalist Pam Polonis performs.

Photo by Sarah Purlee

 86 Noodles guitarist Dave Matthews performs.

86 Noodles guitarist Dave Matthews performs.

Photo by Sarah Purlee

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — During the season of giving, there’s no better example of volunteerism than the annual Rock 4 Tots event.

This year’s event marked 10 years of entertainment and charity, including 34 bands and musicians. It took place Dec. 3 at Rayz Sports Bar, 36434 Groesbeck Highway in Clinton Township.

Money raised from the event goes fully to the Clinton Township Goodfellows’ “No Child Without a Christmas” cause, which helps buy children Christmas gifts every year.

The 15-hour event, which began at 11 a.m. and ended at 2 a.m. Dec. 4, was put on by local organizers that included Joe Evangelista, co-founder James Klapp, 101 WRIF’s Scott Randall and Hard Edge Entertainment’s Howie Herula.

Each act performed a set for 15 to 20 minutes, including at least one holiday-themed jingle. An open jam session took place in the early morning hours. Santa Claus was on hand to absorb the fun, taking pictures with attendees young and old.

“When we put the word out, bands go out of their way to play, and it gives them a chance to see other local bands for a night of cheer,” Randall stated in a press release.

Evangelista said “the place was packed all day,” with somewhere between 1,000 and 1,100 attendees. He said the event never has a monetary goal; people just do what they can to help.

After collecting approximately $7,300 in 2016, this year’s rendition shattered that number by raising $9,141. 

“(It’s) the whole vibe of the day, with the musicians and the bands that come and play,” said Evangelista, who was in his ninth year working the event. 

Paul Silvestri, director of media for the Goodfellows, said his organization will “take what we can get.”

The Goodfellows take registrations for recipients in November, where they confirm interested individuals are Clinton Township residents. Once the money is raised from Rock 4 Tots, toys are purchased and sorted. 

Children ranging from infants to 15-year-olds are eligible to participate. Toys were scheduled to be dispersed after press time to 210 different families, including about 500 children.

Silvestri said the event originally gained steam when a couple of the organizers recalled receiving help from the Goodfellows when they were kids, and they wanted to give back to a new generation. It has certainly blossomed into something special.

“It feels really good to have a group like that that’s able to coordinate, plan and put on this huge event, and they basically tell us you don’t have to be involved if you don’t want to, but it’s here for you, and we’ll provide any support you need,” he said. “It’s become a great event for us.”

The event has actually become so big, Evangelista said, that a two-day event is already being discussed for 2018. It may include the same amount of musicians, but with longer sets. 

“We’re gonna do everything we can to get everyone involved,” Evangelista said.