Gary Linehan, The Union Democrat

Vocalist Josh Pfeiffer of Copperopolis is using his musical talents and entrepreneurial skills to do something bigger than just providing entertainment.

He is putting on a series of concerts at three major venues to raise money for three charities close to his heart - the American Cancer Society, American Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity.

"My family has been intimately involved with all three of these organizations through personal experiences," Pfeiffer said. "Unfortunately, not all of our interactions were in happy situations. We have seen them in action, and witnessed the good they do. Now, it's become my mission to help these organizations continue to do their good work."

Pfeiffer lost his mother on Jan. 1 after a battle with brain cancer. Joyce Donna Pfeiffer, a well-known piano teacher and voice coach in the Sierra foothills, was 64 years old.

On May 1, Pfeiffer also lost his father, Gary, who died of a heart attack at age 66.

The concerts are now dedicated to their memories.

"My mother instilled a love of music in me," Pfeiffer said. "She also shared her love with countless other music students over a period of 15 years. Through her positivity and passion, she touched a lot of people."

The first concert will take place at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Gallo Center for the Arts at 1000 I St. in Modesto. Tickets range from $15 to $45, available by calling 877-488-3380 or online at

Additional concerts will be given Oct. 19 at the Saroyan Theatre in Fresno and a spring 2014 date to be announced at the Mondavi Center in Davis.

One hundred percent of the proceeds from the concerts will go to the designated charities. No monies will be used for overhead or administrative costs.

World-renowned trumpet player Mic Gillette, an original member of Tower of Power, will be part of Pfeiffer's 13-member band.

Gillette has appeared on countless recordings spanning five decades for some of the biggest names in the business, including a dozen members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The concert series will also promote local talent in the venue communities. In Modesto, Summerville High School's nationally-renowned Jazz@8 choir will perform along with the Modesto Dance Academy.

Josh Pfeiffer is well known throughout Tuolumne and Calaveras counties for his upbeat concerts and his jazz, swing and big band sounds from the 1940s. He has performed many times at the Willow Creek Lounge at the Black Oak Casino in Tuolumne and in benefit concerts at La Bella Rosa Vineyard in Sonora and Copperopolis Town Square in Copperopolis.

"I try to bring beautiful, timeless love songs and dance tunes to my audiences," Pfeiffer said. "I think people love to go back in time, to music that brings back good memories. There is a certain feeling you get when you go back to the days of Frank Sinatra and Bobby Darin. Even the younger generations understand the magic."

Pfeiffer found his love of music at an early age. His father worked in the Christian music industry for many years and was involved in music sales. By the time Josh was in eighth grade, his mother was also involved in music - giving piano and vocal lessons.

Pfeiffer received a number of music scholarships after graduating from Summerville High School, where he was active in the music program, including the original Jazz@8 Choir.

He went on to receive Outstanding MusicianshipAwards atthe Santa Cruz Jazz Festival,Redding Jazz Festival and Fullerton Jazz Festival. Pfeiffer has been compared to singers like Michael Bublé and Harry Connick Jr., yet retains his own style. He was recently named a 2012 Platinum Entertainer by Grace Ormonde Wedding Style Magazine.

Pfeiffer's debut CD, "American Crooner Act:1" features standards as well as original songs in the style of Sinatra, Connick and Bublé.

Pfeiffer said the deaths of his mother and father so close to each other and so close to the opening of the show created an extreme emotional challenge.

"That first couple of days we were just reeling," he said of his father's death. "At first I didn't know if I was going to make it. Part of me didn't know how I could possibly do the show and the other part didn't know how I couldn't do it."

One of Saturday's most touching moments is likely to be Pfeiffer's solo a cappella rendition of a gospel song his father wrote 40 years ago, "It's a Happy Day."

"He did really well with that song and has gotten royalties for it every year for the last 40 years," Pfeiffer said.

He recalled a recent BBC program featuring a young girl born without arms who learned to play flawless piano with her feet. When asked what her favorite song was, she replied "It's a Happy Day" and played it on the national broadcast.

Pfeiffer said anyone in the audience who knows the song is welcome to sing along with him Saturday.

"It's going to be an emotional, bittersweet night," he said.