In Celebration of the Rex Foundation's 20th Anniversary
Saturday, March 6, Park West, Chicago

Rex Foundation, the non-profit, charitable organization established in 1983 by friends and members of the Grateful Dead, initiates the celebration of its 20th year of grant making with a Black Tie-Dye Ball featuring the Dark Star Orchestra on Saturday, March 6 at the Park West in Chicago, IL. Concert ticket prices are $35. Tickets are on sale January 31 at TicketMaster ( or (312) 559-1212, and GDTS, TOO – or (415) 457-6388. VIP tickets, which include a special pre-concert reception with the artists, dinner, and silent auction, are available for a premium by calling the Rex Foundation at (415) 457-1296 or by visiting the website at

In the Spring of 1984 the first Rex Benefit was held in San Rafael, California. For the next eleven years, the Grateful Dead performed Rex Benefit concerts across the country that resulted in over seven million dollars in grants to some 900 programs. In December 2001, the Rex Foundation initiated its renewal efforts by presenting benefit events and extending its reach to a broad base of supporters, and has since granted $350,000 to 50 programs.

"The Black Tie-Dye Ball is our first benefit outside of the Bay Area since 1994," says Sandy Sohcot, Executive Director. "We're excited about initiating our 20th Anniversary celebration in Chicago with Dark Star Orchestra. This not only honors our history, but also celebrates the success of our renewal efforts to connect with an extended base of musicians and fans who want to see the Rex Foundation once again fund many worthwhile programs." Proceeds from the March 6 benefit will support Chicago-area programs.

Dark Star Orchestra, referred to by the Washington Post as "the hottest Grateful Dead tribute act going," performed its first shows in November 1997 at Martyrs' in Chicago. Giving homage in a continually evolving artistic outlet, the band recreates historic Grateful Dead set lists with compelling accuracy. Each night, the Chicago-based band decides on performing one show from the 2,500 that the Grateful Dead performed during their 30-year tenure as fathers of improvisational rock. Dark Star Orchestra presents the complete original set list, song by song, and in order, with uncanny faithful interpretation. The group has their craft so well-refined that even members of the Grateful Dead themselves--rhythm guitarist/vocalist Bob Weir, drummer Bill Kreutzmann, and keyboardist Vince Welnick--have appeared on stage and performed with these live music interpreters.

"Since forming in 1997, Dark Star Orchestra has had the honor of carrying the torch for the music of the Grateful Dead, and now we have the opportunity to help in another way," says Scott Larned of Dark Star Orchestra. "The benefit will utilize local artists, businesses, caterers, and promoters to generate funds that the Rex Foundation will turn around and grant to worthy causes in the Chicago area. We look forward to supporting the Rex Foundation and keeping strong the sense of community that the Grateful Dead generated, especially given the local nature of this special event."

The Rex Foundation was established in 1983 as a non-profit charitable organization in order to provide community support for creative endeavors in the arts, the sciences, and in education. With the death of Grateful Dead lead guitarist Jerry Garcia in 1995, the Rex Foundation lost a friend and board member. And, with the cessation of Grateful Dead touring, Rex lost its main source of funding.

In December 2001, the Rex Foundation presented its first benefit concert to help launch the renewal of the Rex Foundation’s activities. The concert--The Healing Power of Music--helped spark a new era of broad community support for the organization. Since then, the Rex Foundation has granted over $350,000 to 50 programs. Proceeds from the Black Tie-Dye Ball will not only support Chicago-area programs, they will also support the foundation's goal to multiply its grant making each year and once again fund many grassroots programs that might not otherwise receive mainstream recognition yet work in innovative, bold, and sometimes controversial ways to bring about helpful solutions to local and global challenges.

The mission of the Rex Foundation is to help secure a healthy environment, promote individuality in the arts, provide support to critical and necessary social services, assist others less fortunate than ourselves, protect the rights of indigenous people and ensure their cultural survival, build a stronger community, and educate children and adults everywhere. For more information on the Rex Foundation, visit the website at To find out more about the Dark Star Orchestra visit the website at

Dave Weissman
JamBase | Chicago
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[Published on: 1/26/04]

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