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Proctorville musician to be part of animal shelter fundraiser

PROCTORVILLE — The upcoming concert for Little Victories Animal Rescue has two of the things Proctorville drummer Cliff Riley loves best — Big Band music and helping animals.

On Feb. 12, Little Victories and the River City Big Band Project will join forces for a Valentine Concert. Since its inception Riley has played drums for the Tri-State band.

The concert will be a smorgasbord of the big band tunes of Buddy Rich with vocal features of other artists of that era — a genre of music Riley finds the most creative.

“During the 60s and 70s everything was brand new,” he said. “People were experimenting on new sounds, new rhythms. People basically now rip off everybody. The sounds are the same. They even look the same.”

For Riley, a drummer’s role is playing the heartbeat of a musical ensemble.

“My primary job is keeping time, keeping everybody comfortable,” he said. “When they are comfortable, they are playing better.”

All proceeds from the concert will go to Little Victories, started nine years ago as a no-kill shelter, based in Barboursville, W.Va. In the past year 1,000 dogs and cats have found new homes in the area from the organization that screens prospective owners before allowing an adoption.

“We are seeing a lot more traumatized or sick dogs and people are giving up older dogs,” Sue Brown, Little Victories founder, said. “Either they are moving out of here or it’s the economy. This year our donations are down because of the recession. But the numbers of dogs and cat we are receiving has more than doubled. A lot of the dogs are older, sick or hit by cars and that has increased our vet bills.”

Riley knows firsthand about the work of Little Victories. He and his wife recently adopted a chocolate Lab from the non-profit volunteer group.

“We got a great dog from that place,” Riley said. “I think the previous owners had abused him. We saw an ad on the website and my wife said ‘Let’s check this out.’ Now he is a part of the family.”

Tickets for the concert are $25 and are available online through PayPal or by sending a check to Little Victories, P.O. Box 247, Barboursville, W.Va. 25504. The concert will be from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Jean Carlo Stephenson Auditorium at Huntington City Hall.

“You are supporting a no-kill shelter and you are listening to one of the best bands around,” Riley said.

For more information on Little Victories or the concert contact Brown at sbrown7987@aol.com