Jerry Vigorito and Rob Fried play music as a hobby. It’s a hobby that just happens to raise a boatload of money.
Vigorito, a mortgage broker, and Fried, a hedge-fund worker, formed Band Together early last year. It’s a concert series based in Fairfield, Connecticut, where various bands perform and all proceeds go to various Connecticut charities. Band Together accepts no outside donations. They make all their money directly from the concerts. They’ve put on 17 shows so far, raising over $600,000.
Vigorito (vocals) and Fried (bass) perform in the concerts with their band, Bone Dry. They’ve found a way to use their passions for the good of others. If more men could do that, we’d all be better off. For that, they’re today’s Men of the Day.
The pair spoke to us about playing music and being good men.
Why play in a band? Don’t your careers and families take up enough time?
Playing music with our friends is a brotherhood, a connection unlike any other. For many of us, our bands are like families. Band Together is unique in the fact that we are not a “band” in the traditional sense. We are a loosely tied organization ofmusicians, artists, media, and volunteers coming together for a one-off show to raise money for a specific charity in our community.
We have a magic, a spirit, and a momentum that is hard to describe. Like sidewalk chalk art, you’re amazed and then it’s gone. We’ve featured over 140 musicians of all musical styles and notoriety. They walk away from the experience asking when they can do another show. It’s a spiritual thing, a good thing.
Our jobs are extremely stressful. Family demands are, at times, overwhelming. Whose isn’t? This is how we have fun.
Why play in a band for charity?
Talent is a gift. Gifts should be shared. Being an entertainer is a privilege, not aright. Somewhere along the line we realized that there has to be something more to playing live music than selling beer and pizza. We wanted it to mean something to our souls but also to the fabric of our community. We play for much broader audiences and larger theaters than we ever imagined now that we redirected our energy to specific charitable projects. Music is something we all can be part of.
To walk into a facility where special-needs children are laughing because of the music we played is very gratifying. We’ve had this experience time and time again. The other amazing part of what we do is that we never meet all of the people we help. Just knowing that we’re injecting positive energy into so many lives is equally rewarding.
Are you a good man? Why or why not?
As life progresses, we do more good to overcome some of the negative self-images we’ve created for ourselves. Along the way, people started to tell us we were powers of example. We got awards and recognition for our work. Then one day, we wake up and realize that maybe we are those guys. Frankly, it’s tough to admit.
I believe we were born with good souls. Growing up sometimes takes you down the wrong roads, and you question whether you’re good or bad. As is the case in life, good conquers evil. We make the positive changes necessary to live an abundant and grateful life. Or maybe it’s just that we’re getting old and tired.
What makes a good man, in your eyes?
Both Rob and I are fathers of daughters. I have two. Rob has three. For the rest of their lives, our daughters will judge every man against us. How we treat them, how we treat their mothers, wives, and other significant women in our lives will be an example to them. Not only is it important that we let our children know how proud we are of them, but also to recognize how proud they are of us. Our daughters are the best reflection of what a good man is.
Who has been the ultimate good man in your life?
First of all, it would be our fathers. We emulate them and live the lives they hoped we would. We honor our fathers by being like them and advancing our lessons to our children.
Secondly, it would be Paul Newman. He used his faults and his fame to help so many.
Thanks to Christian McEvoy. His Venu magazine piece tipped us off to Jerry and Rob. If you have an idea for a future “Man of the Day,” send your nominations to Ryan or Lu.