The Best Music saved a Few Lives

Joe Ed Coffman, the founder of Friends of Fogelberg.

At least once a month I get asked to either photograph or donate art to some charity.  I have had the honor of helping many local charities out via my camera.  My life was changed in 2016 though by one of those charities.  Friends of Fogelberg began by Joe Ed Coffman in 2008 after his favorite song writer and singer Dan Fogelberg died of prostate cancer in 2007.  

Chuck Alexander!

Some estimates put the number of men who will die from prostate cancer in 2021 around 34,000 with some 250,000 diagnoses.  Many of those men who will die from prostate cancer die needlessly.  If caught early the 5-year survivability rate of prostate Cancer is around 97%.  But sadly, too few men are getting preventative screening.  Friends of Fogelberg has set its sights on changing that and is making a difference.  (checkout the statistics here)

Dr. Richard Kibbey

Let’s face it, getting a digital rectum exam is not high on the list of most men's favorite activities.  Men make all kinds of excuses to avoid this, but the reality is the process begins with a simple blood test, a PSA test to see if said examine is needed.  But even the simple blood test seems to go undone by so many men.

Buddy Squyres, prostate cancer survivor and one of the best bass players in the world!


Take my friend and mentor Steve Cost.  Steve is an art professor at Amarillo College in his 70's.  A friend of Steve's gave him a free ticket to the annual concert in 2018 which the proceeds pay for any man in Amarillo to get a free PSA test.  Steven didn't go to learn about prostate cancer, he went because some of the best musicians in Amarillo are busting the jam and Steve loves good music. 

That finger has saved more than a few men's lives!

Dr. Richard Kibbey and prostate cancer survivor himself brings a lot to the concert including one of the best...emm ok... one of the most entertaining Neil Diamond imitations around.  Doc self admits that he is a better surgeon than musician but Dr. Kibbey is responsible for a lot of men in Amarillo surviving prostate cancer and so you could not ask for a better spokesperson to talk about the importance of getting screened for prostate cancer.  And few people can do it with as much humor and grace of Dr. Kibbey.  His talk got Steve to go to the free screening which happens annually after the concert.

Mark Jones!

Steve had stage 4 prostate cancer.  Often prostate cancer has few symptoms, or the symptoms are easy to ignore.  In either case, Steve was shocked and didn't expect to have cancer much less for it to be at such an advanced state.  Without intervention Steve would not be here today.  The screening literally saved Steve's life.  Steve is one of my better friends and is one of many men who could tell you similar stories.  They went to the concert for the music, either they or often is the case their wives were inspired to push the men to the screen and... wham the test come back positive like Steve. Like Steve few symptoms and like Steve, without the intervention the man would not be here today.  We are not talking just a few men but hundreds now.  Since the concert stated in 2008, it has had an enormous impact on Amarillo.

Chris Crowley

One man with an idea started a yearly tradition in Amarillo that has saved hundreds of lives.  There are a lot of things in Amarillo that are amazing and this is just one example.  I had a scare with prostate cancer in 2015.  Honestly when I got asked to photograph the concert in 2016, that wasn't my motivation in fact I wasn't even sure what the concert was about just that they needed a photographer. 

Steve telling Joe Ed and I how he was shocked to learn he had Prostate Cancer.

Since that time Joe Ed (the guy with the idea) has become a great friend and the concert has come to mean the world to me as I watch year after year men's lives be saved like my great friend and mentor Steve.

Charlie Clinton

Bottom line, if you are man over the age of 50, follow your docs orders and get checked. If you would like to find out more about Friends of Fogelberg and how to donate to this great cause or be involved in next years concert go here: Friends of Fogelberg - Fight Against Prostate Cancer

I say this and some will get it, but I listen to music best through my viewfinder.  It is amazing what happens to me as I photograph a concert, I notice things about the music I would never notice without my view finder.  This is one the biggest honors I have and I feel so strong about the concert knowing friends lives have been saved because of it!


Oh the numbers from this year.  Because of the concert, 346 men got their psa tested for free.  15 of those men were found to have elevated psa's which mean they are at risk of cancer and need to be checked further.  If the concert saves even one of those men, it was so worth it!


Joe Ed is a great friend and humble man.  He is quick to point out, he just had an idea and that the concert and the money raised is a team effort.  Some of the most talented people come together to put it on and make it available to the public.  This years musicians are:

• Chuck Alexander
• Carlos Casso
• Charlie Clinton
• Joe Ed Coffman
• Chris Crowley
• Mary Lyn Halley
• Richie Higgs
• Johnny "Reverb" Holston
• Bob Hopkins
• Mark Jones
• Dr. Richard Kibbey
• Tony Naples
• George Pedigo
• Pat Pruitt
• Maggie Scales
• Russell Steadman
• Buddy Squyers
Thanks Ladies and Gentlemen, what you do, the music you make makes the world a much better place and in case of this concert is literally live saving!