February 3, 2006

Annual ski, music event draws funds for cancer research

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It was "ER in the Rockies" for opening night of the 12th annual Country in the Rockies (CITR), which supports the T.J. Martell Foundation and its Frances Williams Preston Laboratories at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center. Sporting the special scrubs that Vanderbilt-Ingram provided for the event are, from left, CITR emcee Tom Gross, BMI's Paul Corbin, Preston Laboratories director Hal Moses, CITR founder Frances Preston, Vanderbilt-Ingram director Raymond Dubois, and Martell Foundation CEO Peter Quinn.

Annual ski, music event draws funds for cancer research

The importance of hope took center stage this week as Country in the Rockies kicked off its 12th year of “fun raising funds” to support research at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.

Hope was the theme of opening remarks by Raymond DuBois, M.D., Ph.D., director of Vanderbilt-Ingram, and a video presentation designed to illustrate the cause behind the annual ski-and-music event, which supports the Frances Williams Preston Laboratories of the T.J Martell Foundation.

Hope motivates scientists in their quest for cures and encourages survivors and families whose lives have been changed by a cancer diagnosis, DuBois told the group gathered in Crested Butte, Colo.

“What motivates us?” DuBois said. “Knowing that there are people out there who are suffering because of cancer and who desperately need the answers that we're searching for… the hope of finding a clue that will lead to better ways to treat cancer — or better yet, prevent it… and the hope of making a difference in the lives of our patients and their families.”

That hope is fueled by the dedication and generous donation of dollars, time and talent by the unique blend of performers, songwriters, volunteers, sponsors and guests who make Country in the Rockies so special, he said.

“We are so grateful for the contributions of every single person involved,” DuBois said. “Their support and the generosity of the Martell Foundation are directly responsible for much of the progress being made by Dr. (Hal) Moses and several investigators in the Preston Laboratories, as well as other researchers throughout the VICC.”

Country in the Rockies XII featured concerts, late-night guitar pulls and “in the round” performances by a mix of event regulars and newcomers. One show-stopper included Vanderbilt Medical Center's own Soul Incision, with a rockin' guest appearance by Steve ("Soul Man") Cropper, as well as a headline performance by Clint Black with opening acts Blue Country and Little Big Town.

The bill also included singer/songwriters Jessi Alexander, Suzy Bogguss and Matraca Berg singing their hits and harmonies with Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's Jeff Hanna; and a variety of performances from Deborah Allen, Aaron Barker, Gary Chapman, John Corbett, Doug Crider, Dean Dillon, Hann-McEuen, Doug Johnson, Chuck Cannon, Julia Burton, Chas Sandford, Crosby Loggins, Gary Morris, Tim Rushlow, Wayne Kirkpatrick, event emcee Tom Gross and professional skier Wayne Wong. This year XM radio recorded all the performances for broadcast on satellite radio, and in February cable channel Great American Country will run a televised broadcast of highlights of this year's event.

The Preston Laboratories are named for music industry icon and Country in the Rockies founder Frances Preston, former president and CEO of the music rights organization BMI. BMI, American Airlines and Crested Butte Mountain Resort were presenting sponsors.

For more information, photos and a complete list of sponsors, visit www.citr.org.

More information about the Martell Foundation is available online at www.tjmartellfoundation.org.