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Music plays on: Concert named for cancer victim Anna Piroch continues to help others

| Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016, 9:00 p.m.
In a scene from the 2011 Concert for Anna, Creep lead singer Mike Piroch of New Kensington rallies the crowd. Piroch organizes the annual concert in memory of his younger sister Anna, who died of cancer in 2008. Proceeds benefit a family with medical and financial problems. The 2012 concert will run from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2 in Tarentum's Praha Hotel.
Courtesy of Truckley Photography
In a scene from the 2011 Concert for Anna, Creep lead singer Mike Piroch of New Kensington rallies the crowd. Piroch organizes the annual concert in memory of his younger sister Anna, who died of cancer in 2008. Proceeds benefit a family with medical and financial problems. The 2012 concert will run from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2 in Tarentum's Praha Hotel. Courtesy of Truckley Photography
In a scene from the 2011 Concert for Anna, Creep lead singer Mike Piroch (left) of New Kensington performs. Piroch organizes the annual concert in memory of his younger sister Anna, who died of cancer in 2008. Proceeds benefit a family with medical and financials problems. The 2012 concert will run from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2 in Tarentum's Praha Hotel.
Courtesy of Truckley Photography
In a scene from the 2011 Concert for Anna, Creep lead singer Mike Piroch (left) of New Kensington performs. Piroch organizes the annual concert in memory of his younger sister Anna, who died of cancer in 2008. Proceeds benefit a family with medical and financials problems. The 2012 concert will run from Aug. 31 to Sept. 2 in Tarentum's Praha Hotel. Courtesy of Truckley Photography
Anna Piroch died in 2008
Anna Piroch died in 2008

Bands will unite to rock the Allegheny-Kiski Valley over Labor Day weekend during “A Concert for Anna IX” at a new and larger venue than past years.

The ballroom of the Quality Inn in New Kensington has been donated to the cause, also dubbed “Rock for Life.”

It will be the ninth annual event in memory of Anna Piroch, a West Deer resident who died in 2008 at 28 after a battle with cancer. The first event was held to help cover medical and funeral expenses. This year's concerts are from Sept. 2 to 4.

“When we threw the first one, I thought it would be ‘one and done',” says Anna's brother, Scott Piroch, 39, of New Kensington. “It's grown so much. This is the largest concert of the year in the valley. We average 300 people a night. We may have 700 to 1,000 people over the three nights.

“We average 15 bands every year,” says Piroch, who is lead singer for one of the bands performing, Creep. “There are five bands each night. They range from hard rock to rock 'n' roll to soft rock.”

The lineup includes The Shiners, Big House, After the Fall, Here and Now, Ferris Bueller's Revenge, Mona Lisa Smile, A Common Crown, Soul Raydio, Heidi and the Hellcats, Bar Fly, Zone 8, Trailer Park Pimps, Flux Capacitor and Driven.

Piroch and his siblings, Lisa, Keith and Mike, have continued honoring their sister while helping others.

“The idea was to donate to cancer research in the beginning,” Piroch says. “What it turned into was every year we knew of someone who needed financial help because of cancer, and we do this as a fundraiser for someone who really needs it. We try to keep it to people with cancer in memory of my sister.”

This year's recipient is Brittany Zilka, 29, of Creighton, who was diagnosed April 5 with a highly aggressive form of uterine cancer.

Piroch says his family members build Anna's legacy by uniting music and fundraising for a cause.

“Our family has been doing this every year,” Piroch says. “We keep my sister's memory alive. My cousin, Rich Jordan, has been a crucial part of this. He does a lot of behind-the-scenes promoting. He's been hosting our shows every year. So many people gave back to us. Some years we do better than others.”

“We want people to enjoy themselves,” Piroch says. “We've always had a real nice atmosphere. We've had some people come every year. Some people come all three nights.”

The event also will include several vendors, a silent auction, 50-50 raffles, a full cash bar and appearances by the Coors Light Girls.

Debbie Black is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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