NORTH COUNTY — Four months ago, as Oceanside band Soulplow set up for a Christmas in July concert at the old Mission Montessori School, a woman came down from the second floor and asked the musicians to keep quiet. She didn’t want them to wake the children. “What children?” they asked. The school was also a refuge for abused children run by Casa de Amparo, she explained.
Casa de Amparo is an Oceanside-based organization that provides shelter for abused children. In addition to supplying food and a place to sleep, the group offers treatment and loving care. Casa de Amparo gives these children birthday parties and sweet 16 parties and even assists after the children become adults, helping them get into college or secure an apartment.
“I didn’t know anything about this stuff, and I didn’t know anything about these places,” Soulplow guitarist Ben Jones, of Vista, said. “It started to weigh on our conscience … We thought, well, we should do something.”
That “something” quickly grew into the five-band “Rock the Cradle” charity rock concert, featuring some of the bigger names on the San Diego County scene. Their first catch was Superunloader, the innovative trio that won the San Diego Music Award’s “Best Rock Album” in 1995.
The lineup also features original compositions by MiraCosta College’s Christy Koobatis, who made a name for himself scoring movies and television shows. Koobatis has put together a band solely for the purpose of playing these pieces.
“The originals have been out there for a while, but they were never represented correctly,” Koobatis explained. “That’s what’s so fun about the band. It’s not just the same people getting burned out on the same stuff over and over.”
Koobatis said he jumped at the opportunity to play at the concert. “I’m a teacher and for me anything that can help kids out is really important to me,” he said. “Same thing for the people in the band. Everybody’s pumped up for helping kids out, especially kids who may not have had great opportunities in life.”
The same goes for Orrin and Cheryl Day, owners of the Ramona Mainstage Night Club where the concert will be held from 5 p.m. to midnight Dec. 13. They offered their establishment free of charge.
“It’s like where The Band did ‘The Last Waltz’ meets the bar in ‘Pulp Fiction,’” Jones said. “It’s a really, really cool place.”
Typically, the organization’s fundraisers attract donors from the more affluent parts of the county including Del Mar, La Jolla and Rancho Santa Fe. “Rock the Cradle” is going to tap a new funding demographic for Casa de Amparo.
“Our crowd are the kind of people, bikers and a blue collar and all that, that are the first ones to pull over in the rain and help you change your tire,” Jones said. “They’re a really good group of people and when they hear about the kids that need help, I think they’re going to jump on board.”
“This is the kind of thing where we feel we can bring some visibility to the issue,” Casa de Amparo’s Viki Hurst said. “I think it’s a great idea because I just love the idea of that segment of the community engaged with helping abused children. Everyone needs to pitch in and help.”
“Rock the Cradle” tickets sell for $20 and can be purchased at Casa de Amparo’s Web site at www.casadeamparo.org. Only 300 seats are available, although people are welcome to donate after the seats are filled.