The painting of Tim Avery on the drum set had a beard and hair.

The real Avery, standing on stage at the Roc4Tim benefit concert on Dec. 3, was bald from the three recent rounds of chemotherapy treating his stage-three lymph node cancer. The real Avery was a little thinner and wore glasses.

Another difference: on stage, unlike in the painting, Avery wasn’t alone.

“I’m not as tall as they think that I am,” Avery said to approximately 850 attendees, adjusting the microphone. He continued to thank everyone, in particular his parents, who were celebrating their 39th wedding anniversary that night.

Behind him stood event organizers Billy Martin, Mike Turzanski, and Greta Page-Mann. Backstage, assorted members of the 14 bands performing that night watched as Avery spoke, then performed a cover of Against Me!’s “Eight Full Hours of Sleep.”

“I remember after he played his cover on stage, I walked backstage and I saw [a friend] just bawling,” said Travis Johansen, KOPPS band member and a close friend of Avery. “Everybody at that moment, when Tim was up there singing, was just on the verge of tears. […] I’m just super proud of Rochester and what we all did to come together for Tim.”

Outside were food trucks from nine local restaurants, all of whom donated their time and services for the event. UR employee Tyler Brogan personally provided free food for band and event organizers.

“It was the perfect day,” Martin said. “I really can’t say any other words to describe it. It takes such an unfortunate circumstance for such a beautiful showing of love and community.”

In addition to organizing the event, Martin performed as the drummer in his band, “Leus Zeus.” Like “Leus Zeus,” each of the bands had a special connection to Avery, who has worked as a music booking agent in Rochester for more than ten years—most notably by bringing big names to the Bug Jar.

“He’s just the best booking agent I’ve ever experienced in my life,” said Jason Milton, lead vocalist of The Demos. “You can tell that he just really cares about the band, it isn’t about the money or selling everything.”

“You can just tell by talking to him that he deeply cares about the artist, the music, about everything,” he added. “It’s so clear why everybody feels that he’s so vital to the scene here.”

Bands took the moment to give their personal thanks to Avery. Mikaela Davis, lead singer of her namesake band, thanked him for being there for “all the bands of Rochester.”

And those bands included some big names.

Joywave, who first announced their plans to perform at Roc4Tim at UR’s fall concert, took the evening to premiere their new song, “Compromise,” from their upcoming album, due in 2017.

Since Avery’s diagnosis in late August, the music world of Rochester has spent the fall coming together for Roc4Tim. Martin commented that, from now on, it will be “business as usual.”

“Tim’s going to continue booking and promoting shows, like he always has been, because he’s going to beat this cancer,” Martin said. “We’re going to continue to play and continue to be a community, we’re going to continue to support each other and it doesn’t just extend to music.”

“It extends to our artists, our restaurateurs, our businesses,” he continued. “Everybody. We’re all one scene in Rochester. One community.”

Avery, as Martin said, has continued to book music groups and attend shows—in particular, those of his friends.

“I kind-of feel as though going out and seeing them at a show and being there to support them for something they love doing, it’s kind-of saying, ‘Hey, your thoughts and your prayers are founded on something,’” Avery said. “They’re working. I’m here. Because of what you’re doing.”

All proceeds of the night went directly toward Avery’s cancer treatment.

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