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Musical medics

The Rockin' Docs are tuning up for a cause. Page XX

AmBlur guitarist Rich Palumbo and his brother, vocalist Lou Palumbo, practice for the Rockin' Docs show. APRIL SAUL / Staff Photographer
AmBlur guitarist Rich Palumbo and his brother, vocalist Lou Palumbo, practice for the Rockin' Docs show. APRIL SAUL / Staff PhotographerRead more

It's not the image nor the label one often associates with dedicated doctors. But on Sunday afternoon, "Rockin' Docs" will be rockin' out at the Electric Factory, complete with special effects and pretty impressive music sets offered by five bands.

The unusual element: Most of the rockers are area physicians.

For Drs. Jeremy Jaffe and Ken Einhorn, founders of Rockin' Docs for Diabetes Cure, this second annual event has deep personal significance. Their event's purpose is to raise both awareness and funds for Type 1 (juvenile diabetes). Type 1, which typically appears in children and young adults, cannot be fully managed by diet and exercise and leaves patients dependent on insulin for life. There is currently no cure. Jaffe, who is an anesthesiologist and pain specialist at Abington Hospital, has the disease, and so do his two children. Einhorn, chief of the division of otolaryngology at Abington, has a son with Type 1.

"We're both totally committed to supporting the search for the best treatment and for a cure, and two years ago, at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation annual gala, we had the same 'Eureka!' moment," Jaffe recalls. "We realized that we could combine our passion for music with our passion for the work of JDRF. And when we hit on the name 'Rockin' Docs,' we were on our way."

Both musicians are serious and gifted drummers, with Jaffe also into vocals, and they are in different bands - Jaffe with Rightback, which has been on the Philadelphia music scene for years, and Einhorn with the newly formed AmBlur, a nod to Ambler, his hometown, and its well-known train station where trains rush by in a blur.

"We also knew other doctors who were musicians and we reached out to them and got wonderful responses," Jaffe said.

So in their mission to create a G-rated musical event that would entertain families and benefit JDRF, a core group of physicians was assembled. But Rockin' Docs also welcomed non-medical musicians willing to donate time and effort to the cause, and they succeeded through their various networks.

Last August, the Electric Factory was filled with music fanciers of all ages. "We honestly had no idea in advance what the total effect would be, but we knew we wanted a high level of professionalism and talent, and that's what we got," Jaffe said.

Last year's emcee, WMGK radio's Andre Gardner, will be back this year.

"Frankly, I wasn't prepared for what turned out to be one of the most spectacular musical events I've ever experienced. These bands were phenomenal - top performers," Gardner said.It is that pursuit of excellence, says Guy Lee, an orthopedic surgeon at both Doylestown Hospital and Abington, that made him volunteer both years.

"I was planning to be a full-time musician; I take music quite seriously," says Lee, who will be playing lead guitar and doing vocals with Rose's Cross, a band he organized. He named the group for his wife, Rose, because rehearsals were in the Lee basement, her cross to bear. They will play songs by Tom Petty, the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, and Van Halen, among others.

While Brian Buinewicz spends endless hours as chief of plastic surgery at Abington Hospital, he has never abandoned his roots as a classically trained guitarist. "The love of music is a tremendous bond among many area doctors - it's an outlet and a release."

"I have a special-needs son of my own who has cerebral palsy, so I know how medical challenges can affect your whole life. Type 1 diabetes is a tough disease, and we'll all play our hearts out to help."

Also performing with Rightback, Amblur, and Rose's Cross, will be Osler Circle, a band named after a road in front of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and composed of hospital staff members who play Beatles music, exclusively. The 2012 Rockin' Docs concert also will feature Suzie Brown, a Harvard-trained cardiologist known on the regional music scene.

There will be a silent auction at the Rockin' Docs event of items mostly with musical themes, some autographed by well-known musicians.

Jaffe often returns to a special memory of the 2011 inaugural Rockin' Docs concert. After each band finished its set, all the musicians came out on stage to play "Soul Sacrifice" by Santana.

"Nobody knew exactly what to expect or how it would sound," Jaffe recalls. "But the audience went crazy, and we knew, in that moment, that we had done something very special. And this year, we're hoping for another day of great music for a great cause."

Rockin' Docs For Diabetes Cure II

1:30-5 p.m. Sunday at the Electric Factory, 421 N. Seventh St. Advance tickets: $27, children under age 12, $15. Day of show tickets: $30, children under age 12, $18. Tickets are available from JDRF Eastern PA/Delaware by calling 610-227-0364 or at the Electric Factory box office. Information: