Coming together to Listen! for a cure

Robert Cheokal

11 Ohio bands, 11 hours, $2

Great friends are hard to find, but friends who go out of their way to be there are especially rare.

Still, when Maurice Martin, frontman of local band Winslow, met Lesley Katzenmeyer, a graphic designer and photographer for the band and its record label FTF, he didn’t know the impact he’d have on her life – or her father’s, for that matter.

Last year, Katzenmeyer hosted a benefit show for the Polycystic Kidney Disease Foundation. The effort means a lot to Katzenmeyer, who inherited the genetic disease from her father. Martin and Katzenmeyer discussed expanding the project over the summer, the same week Katzenmeyer’s father died from the disease.

“I thought it’d be a great thing to make it bigger,” Martin said. “Being in a band and pulling together with Jeff Gargas (FTF’s president and founder), I have more contacts and resources than she does as a graphic designer and photographer.”

Using those resources, he was able to get 11 bands a one-hour time slot each to play at the Kent Stage. The Kent Stage donated their historic space without a fee to host the event, and the full proceeds from ticket sales go directly to the PKD Foundation. The show honors the life and memory of Katzenmeyer’s father.

“Lesley is one of my best friends,” Martin said. “It means a lot to her because of her dad.”

According to the foundation’s Web site,, Polycystic Kidney Disease is a disease in which cysts form on the kidneys, grow and cause pain until the kidneys stop working. According to the site, 12.5 million people suffer from this common disease worldwide, yet few others have heard of the disease and there is no treatment or cure.

The foundation is the only one in the world devoted to finding a cure and/or an effective treatment for this life-threatening disease. So Martin has selflessly tried to make sure Katzenmeyer’s event had every potential to be a success.

“One of the coolest things is we made the show so cheap,” Martin said. “You can’t see any one band that’s playing for that cheap, let alone 11. There’s no excuse not to go.”

He helped find bands willing to donate their time for a live show, made arrangements for the venue and asked other friends to help get the word out – all while working full-time and finding time for his band.

“It’s not about me or my band,” Martin said. “It’s a lot of things bigger – the Kent music community coming together for a disease.”

Contact all reporter Robert Checkal at [email protected].