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Audio West to Host Benefit Concert for Utah Rush

Tomorrow at Audio West, some of Provo’s popular acts will raise money for the Utah Rush – Utah’s Wheelchair Basketball team.

By Richard Provost

Aimee Vargas is a well known name in the Provo music scene. An avid Provo music fan, Vargas has been attending shows in the area ever since her mom finally let her go to a local concert in her early teen years. Her kind nature and dedicated enthusiasm have landed her both employment and internship gigs with the likes of Wish Granted Records, Rock Canyon Studios, and Velour Live Music Gallery.

Aside from being a huge music fan, Vargas is also an athlete. From 2009 to 2012, she played for the Utah Rush – a Jr. Wheelchair Basketball team, currently coached by Adam Lindsay. The team consists of players between the ages of 12 and 18. They have been incredibly successful, with six second place wins and two first place wins at tournaments all over the nation between 2013 and 2014.  The team is officially sanctioned by the National Wheelchair Basketball Association, or NWBA.

The NWBA has its roots in post war America. World War II veterans with various degrees of paralysis began playing wheelchair basketball after the war in 1946. As they played in Veterans Administration hospitals across the nation, the sport gained momentum. The NWBA was founded by Timothy Nugent in 1949 and has made a difference in the lives of thousands of people over the last 60 years. [1]

“The majority of the teammates on the Rush I grew up with, especially the current coaches,” says Vargas. “Being on the team was one of the most important times of my life. It impacted my life greatly. It helped me gain confidence in myself and challenged me physically and mentally. I also consider many of the players like family, and I literally feel at home when we reunite. Being a part of their team shaped me to be the person that I am, and for that I’m forever grateful.”

Aimee Vargas. Photo courtesy of Wish Granted Records.

This gratitude and love for the team helped spur Vargas to action. Around November 2015, Vargas was approached by a few players from the Utah Rush. They asked if they could use her connections with the music scene to raise awareness for their team. “I was ready to jump on board right away,” she says. “I’ve been organizing events for some years now and I love it! I knew that putting on a benefit concert for the team would be something I’d enjoy, so I agreed.”

Their goal for the benefit concert is to raise awareness about adaptive sports and the musical talent that Utah has to offer. “For me, it was pretty easy finding bands,” says Vargas. “I’ve known most of the bands for a few years now, and I am fortunate to know the music scene well enough to be able to have a certain vision of how I want a concert to go – and then make it happen. I’m so thankful the bands playing were excited to jump on board.”

The bands performing at the Rock N Wheeling Benefit Concert (as it is officially called) include Velour Battle of the Bands winners Festive People, successful solo recording artist John Allred, Salt Lake City alt-rockers As We Speak, and Stereotype Inc. The concert will be held at Audio West in Orem.

“I thought Audio West was a great place to book this benefit concert because the staff and owner – David Devaney to be exact – are passionate about helping musicians grow and helping out the community,” says Vargas. “They’ve held plenty of benefit concerts and I love that they provide a venue where the community can come together to learn about the causes that these events are for while learning and discovering the talent Utah Valley has to offer all at the same time. I’m so passionate about music and wheelchair basketball. I knew putting two of my favorites in one event would be enjoyable and also a chance to raise awareness for the Utah Rush and adaptive sports in general.”

Concertgoers will be able to interact with the team, learn what they do, and why they do it – all while listening to great entertainment. “I can guarantee that if you come, the passion and drive this team has will inspire you. I also guarantee that you will find a new band to love.”

The Rock N Wheeling Benefit Concert is Saturday, March 26th at 7PM. Audio West is located at 521 N 1200 W in Orem, UT. Tickets are $10. Contact Ryan Nelson, Amanda King, or Aimee Vargas for presale tickets. Tickets are expected to sell out. Check out “Where We Are Today” by Festive People below!

[1] “History.” National Wheelchair Basketball Association. NWBA, n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2016.

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