The Hannah’s Buddies Charity Classic
The first Hannah’s Buddies Charity Classic was held in Orlando in 1999. Seventy-five golfers gathered with John Bell of Widespread for a round of golf, dinner, silent auction and sold-out concert at the House of Blues. The golf tournament now occupies two golf courses with more than 250 golfers from around the country and the concert has continued to draw massive crowds and a variety of performers. It all started with Bell wanting to do something to help his goddaughter, Hannah, and children like her afflicted with the neuromuscular disease Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). In its first nine years, more than $1.5 million dollars has been raised for SMA research through this event. Year ten promises to bring even more needed funds for this fight against the number one genetic cause of death in children under two.
The Golf Tournament
The Hannah’s Buddies Charity Classic is a four-person scramble played at Grand Cypress Golf Resort in Orlando on Friday. An 11:30 a.m. shotgun start sends more than 250 golfers onto the Nicklaus-designed courses to battle for great prizes and awards. The golfers range from scratch to high handicappers with a few first-time players sprinkled in for the fun. The competition is friendly and fierce at the same time – low score of 56 in 2008 took top honors by one stroke. Following the golf is a cocktail and award ceremony hosted by John Bell and entertainment provided by a regional music act.
The Dinner and Silent Auction at House of Blues
Participation in the golf tournament includes access for each golfer and their guest to the dinner and silent auction at the Orlando House of Blues on Saturday. The dinner consists of buffet of the infamous House of Blues Cajun-influenced cuisine. The silent auction consists of sports and music memorabilia displayed throughout the HOB music hall. Autographed music items from previous years have included guitars from Widespread Panic, Carlos Santana, Bruce Springsteen and Dave Matthews as well as posters, photos and other musical instruments. Sports items have included autographed pin flags from the Major victories of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and others. The auction also offers great vacation destinations and packages donated by supporters across the U.S.
The John Bell and Friends Benefit Bash at House of Blues
The weekend climax occurs on Saturday night when the House of Blues doors open to the public for the JB and Friends Benefit Bash. John Bell invites his friends to join in a night of music always filled with surprises and great performances.
Previous individuals and bands that have performed with Bell at this event include North Mississippi All-Stars, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Galactic, Bobby Lee Rodgers and The CodeTalkers, Robert Randolph and his Family Band, Bloodkin, Barbara Cue, Aquarium Rescue Unit, Jerry Joseph, Kevn Kinney, Gibb Droll, JoJo Hermann, Michael Nichol and others.