ESL Jefferson Award Winner: Steve Ball and the Dawgs

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Four rock and rollers who jam out on stage all for charity!

"I wouldn’t say we play for free," explained Steve Ball. "I think that what we get may not hit the cash register, but the satisfaction of what we’re doing is amazing."

It all goes back to 2014 when Ball started a band with his buddies at work at Wegmans. They had a sing with the band fundraiser to benefit the United Way, and it just grew from there.

"What we did was so unique, that it was kind of like, what’s the catch here?" Ball said explaining the reaction from local charities. "Like you’re going to set this up for us. You’re going to find a place to play. You’re going to play the event, and you’re going to hand us a check. What’s the catch?"

But there is no catch. Dawgs for a Cauz is a fundraising band.

"They’re nuts, first and foremost, but they are some very generous dudes," said Dino Kay from Fickle 93.3 FM.

Kay is just one of the people who nominated Steve Ball and The Dawgs for the ESL Jefferson Award.

"They don’t play for money ever. They only do fundraising events," Kay said. "They are the GoFundMe of Rochester. You know, that’s all they do."

Al Germano is the lead singer and plays the keyboard and guitar. His brother Lou Germano is the lead guitarist and background vocals. You’ll find Steve Ball on bass and Duane Draper on drums!

"We feel blessed," Lou said. "I mean, to be able to do something that you love, music, play guitar, sing keyboard, bass, and be able to do it to give back. It’s a blessing."

The Dawgs play a show every month for a charity.

"You need to know if you come out and see us, It’s going to be quite a fun interactive show," Al said.

You’ll probably recognize the songs they play.

"We have games and contests that we use in show. We have crafted our setlist as both guys have said to be interactive, right?" Ball said. "We wear cheesy suits because we want people to smile."

They also make sure you know about the charity and the work being done in our community.

"You start to realize how many people are out there doing this kind of good work, you know, and it’s nice to be a part of it," Al said.

"They are the extraordinary people, honestly," Ball added.

The Dawgs have done fundraising concerts for C.U.R.E. Childhood Cancer, the Open Door Mission, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and Holy Childhood just to name a few.

"People are generous," Lou said. "I mean, that’s what floors me every time we play is how generous people really are. And the minute they know it’s for charity, they’re willing to help."

Steve Ball and The Dawgs have raised more than $125,000 for charities right here in the Rochester community.

"We don’t know where this thing goes from here," Ball said. "We just want to just keep doing it, and $125,000 is just kind of mind-blowing, right?"

These guys don’t plan to stop rocking for charity anytime soon.

"We don’t need money for this. It feels good here," Lou said as he pointed to his heart. "That’s why we do it."

Steve Ball and The Dawgs were selected to represent our region at the 2022 National Jefferson Awards event in Washington, DC. Their next charity concert is coming up on June 11 at 8 p.m. at Bunty’s Neighborhood Food and Drink on Empire Boulevard in Webster. They’ll be raising money for Julianne’s Journey.