In just a couple of weeks, musicians from all over the county will congregate at Midway High School to play together. Besides a love of music, the one thing that is bringing them together is Robert Lockey, a retired local public school band and music teacher and owner of the Lockey Music and Repair Shop in Fayetteville, who is currently fighting his third battle with cancer.
“He’s still fighting stage four cancer,” shared his daughter Catherine Lockey last week, adding that the cancer is primarily located in his lungs and throat. “He had it initially 13 years ago, then again about two and half years ago, then it came back in October.”
According to his daughter, Lockey is currently in physical rehab, recovering from a bout of pneumonia which took him out of chemotherapy for a while. “He’s trying to build his strength back up so he can continue with his chemo.”
Many know that receiving the extensive medical attention needed to fight cancer can be costly which is why many of Lockey’s former students, colleagues, and others who have been touched by his life and music are coming together to play for him, participating in a band concert benefit to raise funds which they hope will help him and his family with his medical expenses.
“He was the band director at Midway for over 25 years; he was my band director,” said Joshua Tew, a Midway High graduate who has returned to his alma mater to follow in Lockey’s footsteps, serving as the school’s current band director, now in his third year.
Tew, the organizer of the benefit, shared that a benefit for Lockey, particularly one centered around band, seemed like “a good way to honor him and raise funds because it (medical attention) is expensive.”
According to Tew, students from Midway Middle and High schools, various former students of Lockey’s, and other band directors in the county and their students will make up “one mass band.” The band will practice together Saturday, March 22 and then perform for benefit attendees that night at 6 p.m. in the Midway High auditorium. Admission will be $5 and additional donations will be accepted with all proceeds going to Lockey.
“We’ll play some of the things he did while he was teaching,” mentioned Tew. “The ones he really liked.”
Although unsure of the exact numbers, Tew noted that many musicians had already responded to his invitation to participate in the benefit and show their support for Lockey. “I’ve had a very good response so far.”
And there’s still time join the benefit’s mass band. Interested musicians only need to email Tew at firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP. In the email, musicians need to include their name and what instrument they will play. Music and further information will be emailed in return.
The positive response thus far to the benefit hasn’t surprised Tew, and he anticipates more musicians to commit to play for Lockey in the coming days.
“Nobody has forgotten him. He was a great teacher and person; a good role model,” he shared, adding that two of the most important things he learned from Lockey were to “have fun and try to do the right thing always.” “He was a good guy and would do anything in the world for you.”
Tew also encouraged the local community to come out for an evening of great music with an even greater purpose.
“He did a whole lot for this community,” he said, “and I think it would be a good way for the community to support him in return for all the support he gave.”
“It’s definitely a good thing for the community to come together for. It’s really inspiring,” agreed Catherine. “That (inspiration) along with the money that might be raised will be a huge help. It’s nice that people actually care, and for him to know that, is more than whatever money they can take in.”
Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at email@example.com.