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The New Jersey shoreline will come to life a few days before Christmas, with a benefit concert featuring some of the best local talent, as well as one of the area’s favorite sons.

Singer Jon Bon Jovi will headline the Hope Concert III on December 21 at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, with proceeds going to the Valerie Fund, an organization that helps children who suffer from cancer and blood disorders.

The concert is being organized by local hero Bobby Bandiera, the musical director of the previous Hope Concerts held in 2003 and 2006. Bandiera is a longtime member of Southside Johnny’s legendary Asbury Dukes, and also plays rhythm guitar with Bon Jovi.

The cause is personal for Bandiera, who organized the first Hope Concert in 2003 to help his son, a sufferer of cancer. Bandiera has been a staunch supporter of children’s cancer charities ever since, and is especially pleased to be involved with the Valerie Fund, an organization that serves over 5000 patients in the New Jersey area every year. Established in 1976 by Ed and Sue Goldstein in memory of their 9 year old daughter Valerie, the Valerie Fund provides support and treatment for young sufferers of a variety of diseases.

Jon Bon Jovi is also no stranger to benefit concerts, and appeared at the 2006 Hope Concert with Bruce Springsteen, a veteran of the first two Hope Concerts. Rumors are circulating that Springsteen, currently touring Europe until December 19, may appear unannounced at the concert.

Tickets for the show, which will also feature performances by Gary “U.S.” Bonds and Southside Johnny, range from $100 to $500, and are only available by phone or in person from the Count Basie Theatre Box Office – ph (732) 842-9000.

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