Out of work and recovering from heart surgery, Philip Liborio Gangi was depressed.
To lift his spirits, the Pittsburg resident started attending student rock concerts at Diablo Valley College. He befriended the Ejector Seats band, and was soon using his photography talents to capture other youthful music groups.
In the past three years, Gangi has gotten to know and snapped about 50 area bands.
"All these new, young friends helped me recover from my post-surgery depression and gave me a new look on life," he said.
Fast forward: After reading about Pittsburg High School's marching show band fundraising for its 2014 London trip, Gangi decided to pool his music resources and help.
At 5 p.m. Saturday, Gangi will bring together several of his band friends in a benefit concert at the Creative Arts Building, 250 School St.
"Now, my friends will (also) have a place to do a Christmas show," he said.
The headliners are Safety Hazard of Martinez and Good Burritos Don't Fall Apart from Pittsburg and Antioch. Rounding out the list are Coda (Martinez), Demon Seed (Pittsburg/Antioch), Avalanche Wars (Pittsburg), October's Desire (Pittsburg), Not 3v3n! (Pittsburg), Doods (Clayton) and Quiet Game Starting Now (Martinez). Members from all nine bands are high-schoolers, so Gangi started organizing concerts at his home because most of them can't play many venues.
"It's hard for them to find places," he said.
A PIECE OF PEACE: Sixth-grader Jonathon Knittel walked away with the top prize in the annual peace poster contest sponsored by Byron Delta Lions Club.
The Excelsior Middle School student recently took first place, saying "when countries unite, peace is made." Reese Watkins-Nelson took second place, and Kayla Walsh placed third.
According to a news release, the contest is an international competition that "challenges students to explore and artistically express their thoughts about world peace."
Kim Karr, Excelsior's leadership teacher, asked her sixth-grade students to create a poster representing the "Imagine Peace" theme. More than 40 entries were submitted and judged.