January 11, 2002

Harrison tribute benefits VICC

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Construction of the Bill Wilkerson Center, an eight-story building atop the VUH Garage between the Oxford House and Medical Center East on 21st Avenue South, began in December.

More than two dozen musicians gathered last Saturday to pay tribute to the late George Harrison and to raise money for the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.

The George Harrison Tribute Night drew a capacity crowd to the 12th and Porter Playroom to hear local artists perform songs that Harrison wrote and/or performed, individually or with The Beatles.

Harrison, known as “the quiet Beatle,” died of cancer on Nov. 29.

Lynn Matrisian, Ph.D., chair of Cancer Biology and Ingram Professor of Cancer Research, and Mary Edgerton, Ph.D., assistant professor of Pathology and Biomedical Informatics, joined the musicians on-stage briefly to thank them for their work on behalf of the cancer center.

Matrisian, who noted that 1,500 people die each day of cancer, especially thanked 12th and Porter for going “smoke-free” for the evening in honor of Harrison, who said his Beatles-era smoking contributed to his cancer, which began in the throat and later involved his lungs and brain.

“Of those 1,500 people, 500 of them would not have died of cancer had it not been for cigarette smoking,” Matrisian said, prompting a murmur and one audible “wow” from the crowd.

Nashville musician Bill Lloyd organized the event, which raised more than $3,100 for the fight against cancer. He was joined by other artists, including Jonell Mosser, Poco, Don Henry, Pat McLaughlin, and Clive Gregson.

The houseband, which kept the show rocking until midnight, included Lloyd, Steve Allen, Paul Griffith, Fenner Castner, Mike Webb and Pete Finney.

Proceeds from the door will support research at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, the only facility in Tennessee designated as a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute.