Ponte Vedra Concert Hall guitar raffle has unexpected ending

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Special to the Recorder

The Friends of the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall held a raffle for a signed guitar at the sold-out Indigo Girls show on Feb. 9, which turned out to have an unexpected outcome. 

Becci Smith, a math teacher at St. Augustine High, was the lucky winner of the guitar but what happened after she won is was makes the evening so memorable. Smith and her husband, Mark, are longtime residents of St. Johns County and are avid concert goers. This was their fifth time seeing the Indigo Girls and their first time visiting the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall. In retrospect, there were signs leading up to the show that this may be a special night. 

After the winning number was called and Smith claimed her prize, her husband mentioned that she is a six-month breast cancer survivor and that this is just the type of experience that she deserves. 

“We enter these types of raffles whenever possible and we’ve never won,” Smith said. Smith was soon engaged in conversation with Ponte Vedra resident John Willim, who asked her if she played the guitar. After explaining that she didn’t but that it was on her list of things to do, Willim offered to play a song. 

As Smith and Willim began to sing “Galileo,” the crowd that had assembled for the auction began to join the chorus. At this point, building security was beginning the process of clearing the venue. What started as a guitar raffle ended with a chorus of concert goers being led out by a singing cancer survivor and a new friend playing guitar.   

As Smith and her husband returned to the Sawgrass Marriott after the show, they shared photos and videos of the night via text message with their new guitar-playing friend and his sister, who had traveled from Atlanta for the show. Ironically, on this particular Saturday night, the Marriott was playing host to many of the runners of the DONNA Marathon. 

In a lobby full of pink ribbons, a lucky, music-loving, guitar raffle-winning, breast cancer survivor shared a glass of wine with her husband. 

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