Left: Gary Gerber, OD, rocks the house at last year’s show. He is one of the volunteer musicians who will perform again at the Rockin’ for New Eyes benefit. Right: School of Rock’s Craig Sasson
Optical industry singers and musicians are picking their songs, warming up their voices and tuning up their instruments for the fourth annual fundraising concert, ROCKIN’ FOR NEW EYES, at the Hard Rock Cafe on April 1. The show, featuring industry stalwarts as well as optometric students, will again benefit New Eyes for the Needy’s prescription eyeglass program for children and adults in need in the U.S.
“April 1 marks the first day of our 85th anniversary year, and we’re thrilled to kick it off with Rockin’ for New Eyes,” says Jean Gajano, executive director of New Eyes for the Needy. “We’re looking forward to a fun and exciting night with some great surprises for the audience.”
While musical preparations are underway, sponsors are lining up early for Rockin’ for New Eyes. National Vision, Inc. (NVI) is returning as lead sponsor and is joined by Aspex Eyewear, Avesis, Charmant, ClearVision Optical, Davis Vision, De Rigo Rem, Essilor and KBco, Eyewear by R.O.I., Eyewear Designs Ltd., Inspecs USA, Jobson Optical Group, Kenmark Eyewear, Marco Ophthalmic, McGee Group, McQ, Modo Eyewear, Nouveau Eyewear, Ocuco, Patch, Spectera, Transitions Optical, Valley Contax, Vision Council/Reed Exhibitions and Zyloware. Denise Mogil, director of professional services for Costco, is heading up fundraising efforts for the show.
“New Eyes is grateful for the outstanding support of the optical industry,” Gajano says. “Our performers and sponsors have made Rockin’ for New Eyes the must-go-to event during Vision Expo East week, and their generosity has helped thousands of impoverished U.S. residents build new lives through clear vision.”
Rockin’ for New Eyes attracts a broad audience from within the optical industry, including many young optometrists who are the guests of National Vision.
“National Vision is happy to bring 250 of our next generation optometrists to both a pre-party and then to celebrate our industry at this year’s Rockin’ for New Eyes event at the Hard Rock Cafe on Saturday night,” says Bob Stein, National Vision’s chief philanthropic and managed care development officer. "The students bring an incredible energy to the event and get to watch a great night of music, meet and bond with our great industry professionals and close out the night with the Student Optometrist Band. The optometry students have become an integral ingredient at what will be another great show, and we look forward to entertaining them again. Make sure you make it to this year’s Rockin’ for New Eyes Event, and spend some time getting to know the future doctors of our profession.”
A new addition to this year’s show is producer Craig Sasson. Director of a School of Rock in New Jersey, Sasson is a progressive instrumentalist and seasoned guitarist with a passion for teaching and a songwriter spanning across the hard rock, blues and funk genres. A high-energy bandleader with a performance career that spans two decades, Sasson has performed at the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame and at Irving Plaza for Fuse TV.
“When I first spoke to Jean Gajano and learned about New Eyes for The Needy, I was immediately interested in helping out,” says Sasson. “This charity is truly amazing as are the people involved. I am thrilled to be working with all of the bands and anticipate the best event yet!”
New Eyes for the Needy, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, was founded in 1932 and remains driven by its original and timeless mission of providing eyeglasses to individuals in financial need. In celebration of its 85th anniversary, New Eyes is launching its 20/20 for 2020 project, seeking to raise $1 million for new prescription eyeglasses for disadvantaged children and adults in the U.S. and to collect one million gently used glasses for distribution to the poor in developing countries. Proceeds raised through Rockin’ for New Eyes will be directed toward the 20/20 for 2020 campaign.
Rockin’ for New Eyes will take place at the Hard Rock Cafe New York in Times Square on Saturday, April 1 from 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. For sponsorship information or to purchase individual tickets go to new-eyes.org.