Mavis Staples, Juliana Hatfield and All-Star Lineup Headline at Metro Chicago to Support Chicago and Boston Youth, Families


CHICAGO – Following two years of virtual events necessitated by the global pandemic, Hot Stove Cool Music returned to Metro Chicago on Friday night and it didn’t miss a beat. The fundraiser concert, headlined by legendary blues and gospel singer Mavis Staples, raised more than $300,000 for The Foundation To Be Named Later, founded by former Chicago Cubs president Theo Epstein and his twin brother, Paul.


The Foundation disperses all proceeds to Chicago- and Boston-area nonprofits that support youth and families in underserved neighborhoods, as well as college scholarships via its signature program, the Peter Gammons Scholars.


Staples, who has been inducted in both the Rock and Roll and Blues Halls of Fame, capped off a diverse musical evening with a captivating set that showed exactly why she’s been a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner, a National Arts Award Lifetime Achievement recipient and a Kennedy Center honoree. She wrapped up her set by calling on Fenway Park organist Josh Kantor to accompany her on the Staple Singers’ No. 1 hit, “I’ll Take You There” reminding us all to be soldiers in her army of love against hate.


The bill also included Juliana Hatfield, Gammons’ Hot Stove All-Stars and representatives of the Chicago Children’s Choir. Gammons’ band included New York Yankees great Bernie Williams on guitar, as well as Kay Hanley (Letters To Cleo), Scott Lucas (Local H), Kelly Hogan, Will Dailey, Dag Juhlin, Freda Love Smith, Jennifer Hall and Kantor. Longtime 93XRT personality Lin Brehmer and actors Joel Murray and D.B. Sweeney emceed the evening, which included live and silent auctions featuring music and sports memorabilia, as well as priceless entertainment experiences.


“I know that I speak for most of the musicians when I say that sharing a bill with Mavis Staples is the privilege of a lifetime,” Gammons said. “It was exhilarating being back on the Metro stage and seeing that the enthusiasm for the event is as strong as ever. Her lyrics remind us that love conquers hate. And it was heartwarming to see the generosity of the fans, performers, volunteers and sponsors, which will make a difference in the lives of young people.”


The weekend events also included a Saturday VIP tour of Wrigley Field, before the Cubs played the Red Sox, where students of The BASE Chicago and The BASE Boston took part in leadership discussions with the Hot Stove All-Stars in the stand and on the field.  The BASE is an important beneficiary and partner of FTBNL.


Hot Stove Cool Music’s presenting sponsors were Google and 93XRT.



Hot Stove Cool Music was founded in 2000 by Gammons and former Boston Herald sportswriter Jeff Horrigan. It is FTBNL’s signature event.  FTBNL CEO Allyce Najimy and music director Ed Valauskas are the driving forces behind the event, with a team of dedicated volunteers of artists, sponsors, baseball players and musicians, all of whom donate their time and talents.  HSCM is held each year in Boston and in Chicago (since 2012). Past headliners include Eddie Vedder (four times), Buddy Guy, James Taylor, Cheap Trick, Liz Phair, Tom Morello, Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, Common, Yo-Yo Ma, Smashing Pumpkins, Juliana Hatfield, Steven Tyler and the Dropkick Murphys.



FTBNL, a playful nod to the MLB trade term, “player to be named later,” was launched in 2005 by twin brothers Theo and Paul Epstein to invest in the next generation of diverse leaders through their Peter Gammons College Scholarships and support the nonprofit agencies working on the front lines, serving youth and families from disadvantaged neighborhoods in Boston & Chicago. Since inception, FTBNL has raised over $13.5 million and donated grants, scholarships, tickets and auction items to more than 500 nonprofit organizations. FTBNL has sent 200 Peter Gammons College Scholars, who have overcome tremendous obstacles, have high financial needs and great educational potential to the college of their choice, each with a mentor and plan for success. For more information on visit