Built to Spill, widely regarded as one of the Northwest’s most influential indie bands, is playing a rare Olympia show Sunday night.And the Boise, Idaho-based band isn’t even getting paid: The show is a benefit for Friends of Mia, a local organization raising money for children with cancer.
The organization, which is still working to gain nonprofit status, started last year as a group of friends raising money for the family of Mia Deligeannis, who was diagnosed with high-risk acute lymphocytic leukemia in March 2009.
So how did they get such a big act to play at their fundraiser?
Simple: They asked.
Last fall, Casey Deligeannis, the father of 3-year-old Mia and a longtime fan of Built to Spill, went to a show the band did at the Showbox at the Market in Seattle.
“That’s not that big of a venue,” he said. “You see band members walking around before they go up to play. I found Doug Martsch, the lead singer, and told him what was going on. The conversation was brief, but he seemed really sincere.
“I didn’t expect anything to happen,” added Deligeannis.
But several months later, he got a call from a number he didn’t recognize. “It was Doug saying, ‘Hey, we want to do this benefit show for you guys.’ ”
“I am just moved beyond words that they are willing to stop here for this,” said Jennifer Eberle of Tumwater, who helped to start Friends of Mia.
Mia is doing well, her dad said, although she still has several months of chemotherapy ahead of her. The organization’s focus has shifted to raising money for other area families in similar situations.
Friends of Mia has raised $29,000 to date, Eberle said. “We have a nice nest egg as we transition to helping families beyond Mia’s.”
The organization has sponsored a dinner for families staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Seattle, Deligeannis said.
“We lived up there for almost nine months,” he said. “We know some kids that we want to help.”