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Westchase Concert to Benefit SpeakUp 5K

Young Westchase musicians will perform during the Charity Youth Music Concert for SpeakUp on Saturday, Sept. 8 at the Westchase Golf Club.

All proceeds from the concert, scheduled for 7 to 10 p.m., will go to SpeakUp 5K, which will hold its third annual race in Tampa on Oct. 13. SpeakUp 5K, part of the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation, raises funds and awareness for teenage depression and anxiety.

Tickets for the concert ($40) can be purchased online at CKGFoundation.org/Tampa or at the door.

The concert was conceived and organized by Ngoc Pham, owner of Westchase’s Tre MedSpa. Pham’s son, Jacob, is an accomplished pianist and guitar player whose talent has been featured in news stories by the Tampa Bay Times and local television networks.

Many of Pham’s clients have clamored to see Jacob play and wondered about local recitals.

“At that point, the light bulb went off in my head and I thought it would be nice to feature all of our local talent in a neighborhood concert,’’ Pham said. “We think it’s going to be a very, very special night.

“For many of these musicians, the chance to perform in front of an audience is kind of a rare treat. It’s not like an athlete who has 20 games or so to play. Some of the musicians get one or two recitals a year—or maybe none—so they are excited about this opportunity.’’

Pham has been involved with SpeakUp 5K since its Tampa debut in 2016. Gallagher was a Virginia teenager who suffered from depression and died from an unrelated ailment after finishing a half-marathon. She had planned a benefit race to raise money for awareness of teenage depression and anxiety. Her family took the mantle and has spread the race throughout the country, while also developing a public-school curriculum that addresses teenage depression and anxiety.

SpeakUp 5K works directly with the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, so all funds will be incorporated into the community.

Pham said the cause hits home. A young family member committed suicide five years ago.

“Even on a daily basis, talking to my patients, I hear about their father, their mother, their sister, their brother, their grandfather, all affected by depression or anxiety,” Pham said. “It is part of everyone’s life in some fashion and it needs to be addressed however we can.

“SpeakUp is great because it speaks to the young people, particularly the high schoolers. It encourages them to take this message back to their friends. If something like suicide happens, you naturally think, ‘What if I had said this?’ or ‘What if I had said that?’ This encourages them to be involved in their friends’ lives and be up front with what’s going on if something is stressing somebody out. Even if you regularly say, ‘Is everything OK?’ just that one little phrase could make a difference in someone’s life.”

Pham said she has received encouraging community support for the concert. Mother’s Restaurant is donating food. West Park Village’s Southern Bay Bakery is donating 200 cupcakes. Concert patrons will receive some light food and two drinks (wine or beer), while soft drinks are free.

Meanwhile, Miles Neiffer, owner of the American Rock School, is donating his time and his facility’s sound system and equipment for the concert.

Pham said the musicians range from age 5 to college students. There are approximately 20 acts, including singers, pianists, guitarists and a six-piece Korean drum team.

“There’s a lot of negativity in the world these days regarding our young people, so this will be a very positive, upbeat night,” Pham said. “It’s a way for our community to come together and rally around a great cause, while being entertained by some wonderful music.

“We’re hopeful we can make it more of a regular event. Based on the response we have already received, it looks like it’s going to be a really special night. We’re excited for the entertainment that will be provided and we’re excited that it’s going to result in help for a wonderful cause.”

By Joey Johnston

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