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Roots, Rock & Research: A.J. Drexel Autism Institute Hosts First Benefit Concert

Sep 28, 2017

The logo for Roots, Rock & Research

The A.J. Drexel Autism Institute will host its first-ever benefit concert at one of Philadelphia’s premier venues, World Café Live.

Featuring acts like Brother Joscephus and the Love Revolution, No Good Sister, Jeremiah Tall and the West Powelton Drummers, proceeds from Oct. 8’s Roots, Rock & Research will go toward research efforts at the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute.

“I am really looking forward to the success of this concert for two main reasons,” said Meredith Bloom, project manager of philanthropic initiatives at the Institute. “The first is that this is a chance to raise much-needed funds to help support the work we do here at the Autism Institute. And second, this is a wonderful opportunity to have people throughout Philadelphia and beyond learn who we are and what makes us so unique.” 

Tickets are $40 each in advance and $45 at the doors, which open at 5:30 p.m. at World Café Live.

“Federal research spending on autism still lags far behind where it should be,” said Craig Newschaffer, PhD, founding director of the Institute. “So, to keep research on pace, we still have to count on the generosity of our supporters. And we’re hoping that friends we know and friends we’ve yet to meet come out and enjoy a great night of live music.”

Recently, the Institute partnered with the Philadelphia Eagles, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health for the brand-new Eagles Autism Challenge. Held May 19, 2018, the Challenge will be a series of bike rides and a walk hosted by the Eagles as a fundraiser for autism research in the city. Scientists from the Institute, CHOP and Jefferson will use the money raised to further research into autism, its causes and challenges. 

Autism research continues to be incredibly important, as there are still facets of it that remain relatively unknown.

At the Institute alone, Drexel’s researchers are studying things like what chemical exposures might lead to a greater risk of developing autism, how early diagnoses positively impact the way a child on the spectrum goes up, and what ways those children can be helped once they reach adulthood and social services become harder to attain. 

“All of these have aspects that we just don’t know enough about,” said Bloom. “Having more research can lead to making our society more accommodating and understanding of people on the spectrum, in every phase of their life. But that research is expensive, and funding is tough to get.”

As such, Bloom and her colleagues at the Institute hope that people with an interest in helping the spectrum community and music fans will come together Oct. 8. There will certainly be something for everyone, whether it be Brother Joscephus’ vintage grooves, No Good Sisters’ lilting harmonies, Jeremiah Tall’s stirring folk hybrids, or the West Powelton Drummers’ electricity.

“I am confident in saying that this is going to be a fun party,” Bloom said. “With a mix of local and regional talent coming — from folk to zydeco to drumlines — I challenge anyone in the crowd to even try to stand still. It’s going to be a great time with friends new and old.” 

Those interested in attending Oct. 8 at World Café Live can get tickets here.