Ten Auburn-area bands will gather Sunday to pay musical tribute to a man who helped each one of them sound their best.
A benefit memorial concert for "Sound Hound" Brian Ciaburri will bring The Rounds, Honky Tonk Hindooz, Diana Jacobs Band, MixTape, Inside Job, The Primates, Modus Operandi, Miller Street Groove, Proud Walkers and Secret Squirrels to Auburn Public Theater beginning at noon. The event, which will raise money for Ciaburri's family, will also include raffles, door prizes and refreshments.
Ciaburri, 47, passed away unexpectedly Dec. 15. His younger brother Bob said Wednesday that Brian's cause of death is still uncertain.
An Auburn native and the youngest of seven, Brian served in Operation Desert Storm as a specialist in the Army. A lifelong knack for all things technical led him to service as a tank mechanic, Bob said, earning Brian three Bronze Service Stars. His brother being so humble, Bob continued, his family didn't find out about Brian's decorations until Bob went to the VA to complete the necessary paperwork.
"Three bronze stars, that's meritorious service," he said.
Brian — whom Bob said was always his go-to guy for solving technical problems — took that talent to Auburn's music scene after his Army and National Guard service. Known as the "Sound Hound," Brian became just as reliable to local musicians and the city of Auburn as he was to his brother. From club shows to TomatoFest, if there was a concert, Brian mic'd its instruments and manned its mixing console.
Matt Weston, an organizer of Sunday's benefit, knew Brian both as a musician and as an employee of the Downtown Auburn Business Improvement District, which presents TomatoFest and other downtown music events. Brian was generous with his time and effort, Weston said, even helping bands haul gear despite a lingering back injury he incurred in Desert Storm.
"He was just a great dude," he said. "There's a big gap in our music scene with him gone."
Weston said local musicians have been talking about ways to honor Brian and help his family since the news of his passing first broke. Bob recalls about 350 people at his brother's Dec. 21 calling hours, and "16 car loads of music people" at his burial services the next day at Sampson Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Romulus.
So many musicians volunteered to play Sunday's benefit that some had to be turned away, Weston said, though he expects many will still attend and maybe sit in with other bands. Local businesses, meanwhile, have donated "tons of stuff" for raffle and silent auction prizes.
"It's pretty amazing for everyone to come together for something like this," Weston said. "If it wasn't for him, honoring him, it's something he'd be there for, doing the sound."