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Benefit: Singing songs for Stephen Sorenson

SCV Bands support cancer-stricken local musician

Posted: November 30, 2008 6:57 p.m.
Updated: December 1, 2008 4:55 a.m.

Drummer Joe Fuogo of Acoustic Soul holds down the rhythm Sunday night at Hart High School at a fundraiser concert for Stephen Sorensen. Sorensen, a local musician who played in Acoustic Soul and several other local bands, has terminal liver cancer. Concert organizers hoped to raise $30,000.

 

This could be Stephen Sorenson's last Christmas, but on Sunday night, he didn't dwell on his poor prognosis.

He got up on stage and sang.

About 450 of his friends and fans filled Hart High School's auditorium Sunday to raise funds to help Sorenson pay for his upcoming chemotherapy and other medical expenses for the 32-year-old's advanced liver cancer.

Sorenson's friends gathered his past and present band members - including John Dolmayan from rock band System of a Down - for a concert in the room where he got his start.

Sorenson is confined to a wheelchair and suffered from fatigue and stomach pains before the concert began.

But he couldn't resist the stage.

"I'm using the energy of all my friends to live on," he said minutes before he got on stage and pounded his keyboard.

Doctors treated Sorenson for a cancerous tumor in his eye when he was 18, he said.

He found out about two months ago the cancer spread through his bloodstream and to his liver.

He's planning to go through chemotherapy, but his condition is inoperable.

"It's pretty advanced," he said. "My doctor was pretty frank.

"He said, ‘This will probably be your last Christmas.'"

Sorenson has been involved in music "since the day I was born," he said.

He grew up in Valencia and graduated from Hart High School in 1994.

He attended Sonoma State University where he graduated with a degree in music.

He played the guitar, keyboard and sang vocals in several bands, including Acoustic Soul, the Ladykillers and the Nowhere Band.

He toured with the bands from state to state, but said he never did it for the money.

All of those bands rocked the auditorium Sunday.

Dire prognosis or not, in the coming year, Sorensen plans to travel to Spain, finish his screenplays and "record as much as I can," he said.

He said the funds raised Sunday and at other coming fundraisers will help cover medical expenses, as he does not have health insurance.

His parents have tapped into their retirement funds to help him out, but Sorensen said he wants to pay them back.

"Everything's costing a lot," he said.

Though the numbers had not yet been tallied Sunday, his friends said they hoped to raise $30,000.

"He's just a really, really gentle spirit," said Jeni Seidler, who has known Sorenson for about 15 years.

"He's just genuinely kind all around."

Newhall resident Pedrick Walker said he doesn't know Sorenson personally, but attended the concert to support a fellow musician.

"I came to support him because he's another musician in this valley," he said Sunday. "There's a lot of us here."

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