Hobart Lacrosse legend Jon Feinstein ’80, captain of the 1980 National Champion Lacrosse Team, may have lived a short life, but his passion for making life better for children in need has continued long after his death due to non-hodgkin lymphoma at age 27. On Sunday, April 17, musician Chris Nathan will honor Feinstein’s spirit when he performs as part of the “Big Fein Daddy” benefit concert at 1:30 p.m. on the HWS Quad. The Finger Lakes Times recently featured the event in an article.
With proceeds of the concert going to Geneva General Hospital to help provide medical care to children in treatment without health insurance. The concert promises to be a testament to the generosity of Feinstein, who set up the Jon Feinstein Memorial Foundation prior to his death in order to help children lead a better life. According to Ruth Benedict, executive director of the Finger Lakes Health Foundation, Geneva General Hospital and two of its primary care clinics provided treatment to more than 10,000 children under the age of 18 in the last year alone.
Ryan Korn ’12, who is helping to organize the event with his father Rick Korn, a good friend of Feinstein’s who works closely with the Memorial Foundation, says that the response to the show has already been phenomenal. “My father and I have been working with the foundation, and this year we wanted to add something more in Jon’s honor – to do something new and different,” says Korn.
Featuring the Chris Nathan Band, music director Michael Mancini & the “Fein Daddy Horns” – which, led by Tommy Labella, features members of the horn sections of Southside Johnny, Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi – the concert promises to be an energetic welcome to spring on campus.
Although the show is free, a $5 donation would be greatly appreciated. In the event of rain, the concert will be held in the Bristol Field House on Sunday, April 17.
The full text of the article that ran in the Finger Lakes Times follows.
Finger Lakes Times
“It All Started with Jon Feinstein…”
Mike Cutillo • CONNECTIONS • April 8, 2011
Here’s a story that’s got a little bit of everything.
A spring outdoor concert on the quad at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, not just for college students but meant for the entire community. Ties to the glory days of Hobart lacrosse. Raising money for an incredibly worthwhile cause – sick children in and around Geneva with little or no health insurance who still need services through Geneva General Hospital. An up-and-coming young music star from Nashville basically donating his time and energies to visit Geneva.
There even are connections, in a round-about way, to Bruce Springsteen, “American Idol,” Southside Johnny, 9/11, Carl Perkins and the Beatles.
But it all starts with Jon Feinstein.
The Long Island native was a captain and All-American midfielder on the 1980 Hobart lacrosse team that won the first of 12 straight NCAA Division III national championships for the school.
“He was an amazing leader,” says Rick Korn, Feinstein’s close friend and high school teammate at Plainview-JFK. “He was an amazing lacrosse player; he just ran people over. We used to tease him and say that he had mastered the ‘bull dodge’ but that it was more bull than dodge.”
Off the field, though, there was no bull.
“As tough as he was on the field, he had a huge heart off the field,” Korn said. “He cared so much about people and the world around him. He was very deep and soulful, an amazing, amazing person.”
A few years after graduating from Hobart, Feinstein was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which would claim his life at the unfair age of 27. Before he died, however, and with close friends around him trying to determine how to honor his legacy, he put in a final request: Help underprivileged kids.
Oh, he wanted one more thing, too, Korn remembered.
“He said, ‘I don’t want a funeral. I want a party.’ So, we threw a big party, raised $10,000 and that’s what started the memorial fund.”
In 24 years, the Jon Feinstein Memorial Fund has financed a number of worthy projects, all, as per Jon’s wishes, to help kids – awarding college scholarships, funding lacrosse programs, sending inner-city kids to the Hobart lacrosse camp and starting the first Harlem middle school lacrosse team.
Ryan Korn, a junior at Hobart, has heard the tales about Feinstein from his dad and knew all about the memorial fund’s work.
“He’s constantly telling me stories about the type of person Jon was, and from the start, it just blew me away,” said Ryan, a pre-med major and lacrosse player at Hobart. “When we started getting in touch with his old teammates, it was amazing to hear how people react just when they hear his name.”
It was Ryan who came up with the idea of trying to put together a benefit concert this year as something new. He immediately got in touch with his dad, a producer in New Jersey who has worked with legendary songwriter Perkins, Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, George Harrison, Paul McCartney and others. He’s also put together benefit concerts, including one after 9/11 that featured Springsteen.
“My son is a pre-med major and has spent a lot of time at Geneva General,” Rick said. “He found out some information about the number of kids in the Geneva community, in the Finger Lakes community, who don’t have health care or are underinsured.
“He called me up in the fall and said, ‘What do you think about putting a concert together and getting the entire Geneva community behind it and raising money for kids without insurance?'”
Rick’s first reaction: “That’s a huge undertaking.”
But he started making connections with people he knows in the music industry and things quickly started falling into place for what would become next Saturday’s “Big Fein Daddy Concert.”
They also contacted Ruth Benedict, executive director of the FL Health Foundation. She said she almost couldn’t believe what she was hearing on the other end of the phone line when the Korns first called.
“Of all the places they could do a charity project, to pick us because Jon Feinstein was interested in children, that was amazing,” Benedict said. “It just shows you the good that people can do even after their lifetime when they have inspired their friends and their classmates and their teammates.”
Ryan Korn used one of his own connections – or rather, his sister’s – to land up-and-coming talent Chris Nathan. A Buffalo native, Nathan currently lives in Nashville and dated Ryan’s sister when she lived there a few years ago.
Fresh off a tour with Kris Allen of “American Idol 8” and with his videos spreading virally on YouTube and Facebook, Nathan is gaining widespread acclaim among younger music fans and called it an honor to headline a concert that will help kids and families.
Rick Korn’s calls landed music director and keyboard player Michael Mancini and a horn section – dubbed the “Fein Daddy Horns” – that includes members of the horn section from Southside Johnny, Springsteen and Bon Jovi.
All that’s needed now are good weather (though a rain date is set for April 17) and a good crowd.
“It’s tough to say what we expect or what our goal is [financially],” Ryan said. “But at this point, I think the goal is to see a good response and a good showing from the community and that everyone has a good time. Whatever money we may raise, as long as it’s going to help someone, even if it’s only one person, that’s a great thing.”
And just how Jon Feinstein would want it.
If you go . . .
What: Big Fein Daddy Concert
When: 1:30 p.m. April 17
Where: HWS quad
Who: Featuring Chris Nathan with music director/keyboardist Michael Mancini and the “Fein Daddy Horns,” led by Tommy LaBella
Cost: Free, though a $5 donation at the door is appreciated
Why: All proceeds go through the Jon Feinstein Memorial Fund to the Finger Lakes Health Foundation to help provide medical care for children
News Editor Mike Cutillo writes a weekly column about the special people, places and issues of the Finger Lakes. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 789-3333 ext. 250.