Augusta / Nelson County, VA
Story By Tyler Rich
The Central Virginia Blues Society came out to support one of their own in early August, at the fifth annual Summer Blues and Brews Festival that took place at the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton. After hearing of their longtime friend and drummer, Robert Ballard’s, cancer diagnosis, the members of CVBS rushed to his aid.
“When we found out he was sick, we were extremely sad but always kept a positive attitude because that’s the way Robert is.” says friend and band mate Andy Burdetsky. “We [The CVBS] have monthly jams at different venues all over Central VA and we have about 70 signed up members and 300 on our email list, who receive a newsletter that we send out monthly. Robert was at every jam unless he was out of town or sick ….. everyone who sat in wanted to play with Robert and they got to know what a great guy he was.” says Andy. To date the group has raised upwards of $800 to aid in his recovery, not to mention countless meals, visits, and general support.
“I was really humbled by the level of support from my friends, family, and fellow musicians,” says Ballard, “It always feels better to give than to be on the receiving end of charity or gifts but words cannot express how much we appreciate everything that Andy and the CVBS have done for us! I am halfway through the six rounds of chemotherapy. There are positive signs that it is working and I feel fortunate to be given another chance.” As Robert’s recovery has gained momentum, so too has the support from his friends and family.
A major benefit called Beats For Ballard is being held on October 5th at the Rockfish Valley Community Center from 6:30 to 11PM to benefit Ballard and his family. The event will feature many of Robert’s closest friends playing, as well as having local wine and beer for sale, raffles, and a silent auction.