Remembering Tom Rowe Concert has jazz, family ties

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13th annual event 
is set for May 13 

AUBURN—The Jack McPhillips Memorial Fund in cooperation with Concerts for a Cause is pleased to announce that the Thirteenth Annual Remembering Tom Rowe: A Celebration in Song concert will be held in the First Universalist Church of Auburn on Saturday, May 13. This annual gathering of musical pals of the late Schooner Fare member and Auburn native is organized by the late musician’s son, Dave, who is also a well-known professional musician.

Tom Rowe was a founding member of Schooner Fare. He passed away in 2004 due to complications in the treatment of throat cancer. Tom’s passion was playing music. His journey started as a grammar school student playing clarinet in the school band. He took up the saxophone and started playing dances with his father, “Bud,” at grange halls as a teen. In high school he formed a folk group with classmates including Dave Rowe’s mom, Joanne Demers Fuller, Denny Breau, and Kathy Redmun Haley (who will also be performing at the concert) called the Chord Majority that developed a very loyal local following.

In subsequent years, Tom joined forces with many local musicians of note playing rock-and-roll in watering holes around central Maine. In 1975, while still playing rock almost every night of the week, Tom formed Schooner Fare with two brothers, Steve and Chuck Romanoff. Schooner Fare brought him to the pinnacle of his career, playing the Kennedy Center, the Filene Center at Wolf Trap, the Birchmere in Washington D.C., and many other notable concert venues around the U.S. and Canada.

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In the early 1990s, Tom joined his son, Dave, to form Rowe by Rowe, a father-son duo that toured extensively for several years during times when Schooner Fare wasn’t busy. In 1998, Denny Breau joined the Rowe men to form Turkey Hollow. Tom continued playing with both Schooner Fare and Turkey Hollow until his passing.

Every year at this concert, Tom’s bandmates gather with other musical friends to pay tribute to a wonderful musician-friend-father to raise money for the Jack McPhillips Memorial Fund which helps people with immediate, fundamental financial needs who would otherwise fall through the cracks

The bill for this year’s concert will include sets by Schooner Fare, Dave Rowe, and The Squid Jiggers, all of whom perform every year, as well as special guests Ed Romanoff (younger brother of Steve and Chuck Romanoff of Schooner Fare), Kathy Haley with Debbie Morin, and jazz clarinetist Brad Terry with guitarist Peter Herman.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with the group of musicians we have coming together for the show this year,” said Dave Rowe. “Brad Terry was around my dad in so many ways for years. He’s attended this concert as an audience member. He’s even played clarinet and whistled on at least one of Schooner Fare’s recordings. And Kathy Haley and Deb Morin! They are two of the area’s finest and best-known singers, and both dear friends to my dad. I can’t wait to hear what great music they bring to the show!”

Remembering Tom Rowe: A Celebration in Song began as a benefit for the Maine Cancer Foundation, but changes at the foundation led Dave Rowe to seek out a new beneficiary several years ago. Dave reached out the board of the Jack McPhillips Memorial Fund, a charity started by friends of Schooner Fare and Devonsquare. The JMMF has helped organize the concert since 2009. The fund raises money exclusively through the Remembering Tom Rowe concert and the Schooner Fare/Devonsquare and Friends Reunion Concert which happens yearly in the late winter.

The May 13th concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. and is part of the Concerts for a Cause concert series that the First Universalist Church began last fall. Tickets are available online at or by calling BrownPaperTickets at 1-800-838-3006. All other details can be found at the Jack McPhillips Memorial Fund website at <http://www.jmmf.org>.

The late Tom Rowe playing with Schooner Fare at Milwaukee Irish Fest.

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