From the inspiration of one determined individual comes an unusual event with a purpose; Bill McNally was a man who believed in his students and founded something that may go down in Lackawanna College history.
‚??Bill would always say, ‚??God‚??s on our side: Grip, Optimism, and Determination,‚??‚?Ě recalled Lackawanna Falcons Head Coach Mark Duda, a good friend of Bill‚??s. ‚??He believed that he and his students were on a mission from God, and because he believed the students had those things, he wanted to help them.‚?Ě
Bill McNally was a resident of Clarks Summit, a professor at Lackawanna College, advisor of the college‚??s Marketing Club, and a friend to all. He is the reason why the first annual Falcon Music Festival is taking place at Lackawanna‚??s Mellow Theater, and despite his recent unfortunate passing, the event will still go on.
‚??He was a tremendous inspiration in this whole endeavor. He was the driving force behind this. When he passed away, there was a huge hole, and we‚??re all doing out best to really fill it,‚?Ě Duda said.
From the ground up, McNally started planning the festival in hopes that it would raise money to donate books to the athletic students. McNally, along with the school‚??s Marketing Club, realized what a financial burden it can be to those who are paying for both tuition fees and expensive book costs, some priced as high as $200 each.
‚??At first, it was supposed to be a little get-together, but it has grown into a benefit concert that is going to be very successful,‚?Ě Duda said. ‚??He and the Marketing Club saw a problem and a challenge, and they wanted to do something about it. He decided that he was going to make this happen.‚?Ě
This year, the event is expected raise enough money to help the students in the athletic department. However, the bigger goal is to raise enough money in the years to come to help out all students of the college.
Together, they thought a night of music would be a fun way to raise money; thus, the Falcon Music Festival was born. McNally reached out to friends and strangers alike, convincing them that the event would be well worth their efforts. With help and donations from various people and organizations, the festival was well on its way.
‚??It‚??s an unusual event because people from out of town are coming to extend their time to help,‚?Ě Duda noted. ‚??You don‚??t really get full-grown people to do those things, but these people want to because they think the cause is good. Frankly, we do too.‚?Ě
Local band MiZ will be headlining the event, along with the Mile High Club, a group of musicians from Philadelphia. The music will start at 7 p.m. in the Mellow Theater and will run until 11 p.m. Following the event will be an all-ages after-party at the college‚??s Student Union, where DJs will fill the rest of the night with music. For those over 21, the Mile High Club will be continuing their set at the nearby POSH restaurant (404 N. Washington Ave., Scranton).
TwentyFiveEight Studios, based out of Scranton, will be filming a documentary of the event; proceeds from its sales will be donated to the college. McNally personally reached out to the studio and asked them to cover the event, and they were glad to donate their time to help out a good friend.
‚??Bill came into the studio and saw our videos and what we were doing,‚?Ě Dennebaum, owner of TwentyFiveEight, said.
‚??It was nice to have somebody really believe in what you‚??re doing, and not only believe, but to support you and do whatever they could to help you. I knew Bill, not as long as I would have liked to, but it felt like we were old friends. I felt like he was one of us, and I could really talk to him. My involvement (began) because he convinced me it was a good idea. And the more I thought about it, he was right.‚?Ě
Everyone involved in planning the event has taken a great effort to carry out the show, just like McNally would have wanted.
‚??Bill would not have wanted anyone to mourn. It was weird because everyone involved in the planning got an invigorating sense of ‚??Now this has to happen,‚?? and it has to happen in a way that is as close to perfection as possible,‚?Ě Dennebaum felt.
If the event is a success, higher goals will be set each year, bringing in more money than ever before to help students and to continue McNally‚??s tradition of ‚??Grip, Optimism, and Determination.‚?Ě
‚??Maybe we can help students not leave school just because they don‚??t have the basic needs and requirements to stay,‚?Ě Duda hopes.
Falcon Music Festival: Feb. 9, 7:30 p.m., Mellow Theater (501 Vine St., Scranton). $22.50.