New Jersey Stage
New Jersey Stage on social media

New Jersey State Council on the Arts Names Allison Tratner as Executive Director Click here for the story!

Eric Miller's Bold Move To Raise Awareness Of Epilepsy

By Gary Wien

Eric Miller is coordinating 50 Concerts in 50 States for Epilepsy Awareness in honor of his wife Carolina who passed away from epilepsy at 25. The concerts partner with the largest organizations (Epilepsy Foundation, CURE & others) in epilepsy on a single weekend. Some of the artists they have on board include Eric Clapton, Colbie Caillat, Owl City, Supertramp's Roger Hodgson, Brian Regan, Loudon Wainwright III, They Might Be Giants and dozens more. The 50 Concerts in 50 States had its origins years ago as a house concert series in Pennington, NJ. recently spoke with Miller about taking the awareness project to a much higher level.

You started with house concerts to raise awareness of epilepsy. The 50 concerts in 50 states is a tremendous leap forward. What inspired you to take the project to this level?
A friend of mine, Catie Curtis, worked on a similar project for Voices United in 2012 and it inspire me in terms of format. Combined with the fact that I knew I wanted to do something big and take it to the next level in March 2013. I think you need to do big, bold things to really get attention, which is the primary focus, raising awareness for epilepsy. And the reason it is in March is to specifically be in conjunction with the annual epilepsy awareness day, Purple Day which is every year on March 26th. So, we've tried to coordinate as many of the 50 Concerts in 50 States around that weekend as possible.

How did you first get starting with hosting concerts? Are you a musician? Involved in the business somehow?
I've always been a huge music nerd. Along with a longtime friend, I put out a small music magazine in the 90s, which is probably how I got my foot in a lot of doors. In the past few years, I've done some booking for artists and for venues and it's been growing. The first house concert I hosted was with Jeffrey Gaines and it kicked off this series in May 2012. I was honored to have him specifically as he was someone that my wife Carolina and I both really enjoyed. I've since had 27 house concerts in just about 10 months with all sorts of artists. It's very rewarding to combine my passion for music with my driven advocacy efforts in the world of epilepsy.

Looking over the list of concerts for the March weekend, it's amazing seeing all of the various styles of music (and even comedy and dance) represented and then one name stands out - Eric Clapton. How did you get approval for those shows? You must be either fearless or very persistent!
I very much take a "no swings, no hits" approach! There really has been an absence of national, high-profile epilepsy awareness efforts - and it's something that affects so many people (1 in 26 people will develop epilepsy in their life), that the odds are kind of in my favor. It's almost overdue. For example, Garbage was eager to participate as they have a band member living with epilepsy. It touches so many lives. I also present what I believe is a persistent and compelling story. To be frank, the drive for all of this still comes from honoring my wife Carolina, who passed as a result of epilepsy. In the interest of raising awareness, I do share her story and I think people of all types respond - include multi-time Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees.

There's such an amazing blend of artists from big names to rising stars. Are there any under-the-radar artists you'd like to point out?
The variety is by design - in the same way that epilepsy affects people of all ages, races, income & education so does music. We all have different things we listen to. So by casting a wide net we can get the info out to the widest audience. There are a few artists that I'm personally proud to have on board. Jann Klose is a great singer-songwriter from New York and he'll be playing a show here in New Jersey as part of my "flagship" show alongside Jeffrey Gaines and guitar wiz Gary Hoey. The young artist opening that show Amy Faden is also spectacular. In terms of artists local to New Jersey, I cannot say enough good things about Sofia Nicole. She's played two of my house concerts so far and is returning in May.

Are you still adding shows? Are there any states you haven't locked down performances for yet?
At the time of answering this, I'm at 76 shows in 41 states. Some states are proving tricky as there simply isn't as much activity as, say, New York. If we don't get all 50 States, that's fine. We're making noise where there was none previously, so if it's 40 states this year, maybe next year we hit all 50 (and beyond!)

Each show features volunteers handing out literature and collecting donations. How can people volunteer? And what kind of help do you need for these shows?
That's right. We're printing a 16 page Playbill-style program that will be distributed at all of these events around the country. I pulled in the largest organizations in the world of epilepsy and we've partnered on the program - with each organization providing content. I've written a page specifically to honor Carolina for example, but others have written about first aid, statistics about epilepsy and so on It really is the first coordinated piece of epilepsy awareness literature distributed on this scale. People have been volunteering around the country to assist - as hosts of events, as performers and as volunteers/street team. All of which can be done on my website at You can also see the confirmed events around the country listed there.

Any plans for the future? If the 50 concerts in 50 states goes well, do you see it becoming an annual event?
Yes, this will be an annual event. The reaction has been nothing short of astounding. I kicked this off in November and within 3-4 months we have such artists on board as Eric Clapton, Garbage, Colbie Caillat, Tegan & Sara, Owl City, Supertramp's Roger Hodgson, Living Colour, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, They Might Be Giants, Donavon Frankenreiter, Brian Regan, Minus The Bear/Circa Survive, Loudon Wainwright III and dozens more. I'm building relationships with the venues, the performers and growing the national network of volunteers.

Finally, your wife died of epilepsy when she was just 25. Had she been fighting it all of her life or was it something that came on quickly?
Carolina had been diagnosed in her teenage years. Like many, she didn't have a clear cause for her seizures. Meaning, no distinct incident of head trauma, etc.. Her seizures were pretty infrequent. Again, not uncommon. She was fortunate in that fact. Many living with epilepsy are not as fortunate and have it more severly. I should point out that epilepsy is actually a spectrum of neurological disorders - some seizure types are more severe and some are more controllable than others. In Carolina's case, it didn't affect her day-to-day life. Her seizures were controlled with medication. She was an exceptionally brilliant woman by every measure. In the six years I knew her, she'd only had two seizures, the second being fatal. It wasn't until after her passing that I learned that epilepsy could be fatal. I'm fairly certain she didn't know that either, which is awful. In fact, about 50,000 people a year die as a result of seizure related causes. A huge and shocking number that most certainly deserves as many national awareness campaigns as possible. I am one guy, doing my part to honor my wife and those living with or lost to epilepsy. Hopefully using the power of music and carrying a banner that some will follow. In setting up 50 Concerts in 50 States for Epilepsy Awareness and building this network of volunteers, we're finally uniting to move that message forward. Together we can change the way the world sees and understands epilepsy.

For more by this author, click here

Jann Klose and The Voice's Josett Diaz To Perform At Ethical Brew To Benefit A Cause Close To Home
(TEANECK, NJ) -- On Saturday, December 8th, singer-songwriter and recording artist, Jann Klose will perform at Ethical Brew on behalf of Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center, a community arts and cultural center for children and teens located in Bronx, New York.  Doors open at 7:30, show begins at 8:00pm.
Kenny Chesney To Perform At Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
(ATLANTIC CITY, NJ) -- Focusing on smaller venues and markets not directly impacted by his massive stadium tours, Kenny Chesney sought to make his Songs for the Saints 2019 Tour mirror the intimacy of its namesake album. Inspired by the resilience of the people around him, Chesney doubles down on the human connection for his 2019 tour by seeking those members of No Shoes Nation who have spent the past decade and a half making the trip to stadium markets for what is now a summer tradition. On Saturday, May 11, 2019 he brings the tour to Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena in Atlantic City, NJ.
State Theatre New Jersey presents Cirque Dreams Holidaze
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- State Theatre New Jersey presents Cirque Dreams Holidaze on Friday, December 7 at 8:00pm, Saturday, December 8 at 2:00pm and 8:00pm, and Sunday, December 9 at 2:00pm. Cirque Dreams Holidaze, a division of Cirque du Soleil, has become a critically acclaimed, state-of-the-art Broadway musical, and a fun-filled, holiday family show. Tickets range from $35-$98.
NJSO presents 2019 Winter Festival, 'Music Speaks'
(NEWARK, NJ) -- A trio of renowned guest artists with distinct musical voices—pianists Emanuel Ax and Daniil Trifonov and soprano Dawn Upshaw—headline the NJSO’s Winter Festival, “Music Speaks,” in January 2019. The Orchestra’s signature artistic event takes place across three weekends, January 10–27, in six New Jersey venues.
RVCC Chorale to Perform Annual Holiday Concert on December 8th
(BRANCHBURG, NJ) --The RVCC Chorale will give its annual holiday concert on Saturday, December 8 at 8:00pm in the Welpe Theatre at Raritan Valley Community College’s Branchburg campus. The program will feature Johann Sebastian Bach’s cantata, Das Neugeborne Kindelein, as well as a cappella pieces from by Sergei Rachmaninov, Zoltan Kodaly and Giuseppe Verdi. The program also will include an audience singalong of traditional carols.

"Great Music!" Tavares and Harold Melvin's Blue Notes LIVE! at the Strand Theater
The music of the 1970s is alive and well this Saturday, November 3, 2018 at Lakewood, NJ’s Strand Theater with a concert by the ’70’s R&B and soul groups Tavares and Harold Melvin’s Blue Notes!
"An Amazing Musical Genius!" Brian Wilson LIVE! at the State Theatre
In the music room in the back of our house, there’s an electric bass and amp, two acoustic guitars, a microphone and PA speakers, several pieces of music recording equipment, and a bookcase filled with books on music, not to mention a slew of assorted music memorabilia. But, perhaps, one of the most highly prized items in the room is hanging directly above the piano next to the college music diplomas.
Jazz Saxophonist Don Braden LIVE! at Toms River’s Grunin Center
It’s a breezy day for a new installment of the Jazz On a Sunday Afternoon concert series at Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center of the Arts this Sunday Oct. 27, 2018 afternoon. Today’s special 3pm performance is entitled Earth, Wind and Wonder and is presented by jazz saxophonist Don Braden.
Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, The Classics IV, and The Brooklyn Bridge LIVE! at The Strand, Lakewood
The stars are out this Saturday Oct. 26, 2018 evening in Lakewood, NJ for a “Golden Oldies” concert featuring Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, The Classics IV, and The Brooklyn Bridge!
PODCAST: Grammy Winner Terri Lyne Carrington At TD James Moody Jazz Festival
Drummer, leader, and composer Terri Lyne Carrington made history as the first woman to win a Grammy for Best Instrumental Jazz for her album “Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue.” Now, she brings her interpretation of Duke Ellington’s “Money Jungle” to the TD James Moody Jazz Festival at NJPAC on November 11, 2018, as part of a program called “Jazz Vinyl Revisited.” Producer Susan Wallner talks to Carrington about her connections to the jazz greats Clark Terry and Max Roach; her newest project, the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice; and why she thinks drummers make natural leaders.

Event calendar
Sunday, Nov 18, 2018


Allen Stone @ House of Independents, Asbury Park - 8:00pm

IN MEMORY OF BOB COLYARD @ The Saint, Asbury Park - 11:00am

Gypsy Jazz Brunch with Pyrenesia and Max Hansen Buffet @ Hopewell Theater, Hopewell - 11:00am

Dorthaan's Place: Eric Alexander Quartet @ NICO KITCHEN + BAR @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 11:00am and 1:00pm

Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition: SASSY Awards @ Victoria Theater @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 3:00pm

Rachel Barton Pine plays Paganini @ Richardson Auditorium in Alexander Hall, Princeton - 4:00pm

Max Weinberg’s Jukebox @ Jay & Linda Grunin Center For The Arts At Ocean County College, Toms River - 7:00pm

Bolshoi Ballet: La Sylphide @ Pollak Theatre @ Monmouth University, West Long Branch - 3:00pm


Annie @ Broad Street United Methodist Church, Burlington - 2:00pm

An Actor's Carol @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 3:00pm

Annie @ Axelrod Performing Arts Center, Deal Park - 3:00pm

Apples In Winter @ Centenary Stage Company - Kutz Theater of the Lackland Center, Hackettstown - 2:00pm

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 3:00pm

Billy Bishop Goes to War @ Bickford Theatre at the Morris Museum, Morristown - 2:00pm

ELF THE MUSICAL @ Mayo Performing Arts Center (MPAC), Morristown - 7:00pm

Pinocchio @ The Newton Theatre, Newton - 3:00pm

Kiss Me Kate @ Broadway Theatre of Pitman, Pitman - 2:00pm

Phoenix Productions Presents: The Hunchback of Notre Dame @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 3:00pm

Heathers, The Musical High School Edition @ Pebble Players, Oakes Center, Summit - 2:00pm

Junie B. Jones The Musical at Black Box PAC @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 11:00am

The Drowsy Chaperone @ Lauren K. Woods Theatre at Monmouth University, West Long Branch - 3:00pm


JCTC Dance: Up Close & Personal @ White Eagle Hall, Jersey City - 4:00pm

NJDTE "The Nutcracker" Storytime & Performance @ New Jersey Dance Theatre Ensemble, Summit - 4:00pm


THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 1:00pm

ROALD DAHL’S WILLY WONKA JR. @ Ridgewood Ave School Theater, Glen Ridge - 1:00pm


Mainebiz Health Care Forum @ 10th Ave. Burrito, Red Bank - 10:30am

View all events

New Jersey Stage © 2018 by Wine Time Media, LLC | PO Box 140, Spring Lake, NJ 07762 (732) 280-7625 |

Images used on this site have been sent to us from publicists, artists, and PR firms.
If there is a problem with the rights to any image, please contact us and we will look into the matter.