Friends of E

 Boston rock rallies around the Di Guardia family
By MICHAEL MAROTTA  |  November 30, 2010

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ANGELS AND SOUNDWAVES “She had an amazing personality for someone so tiny,” says Danyelle Di Guardia of Emilia Marie. “She had an impact on the nurses and everyone in the NICU.”

Last month, Central Square hosted a memorial party for the late Billy Ruane, who at 52 years old, pretty much everyone agreed, had lived a full, rich life. This Saturday, T.T. the Bear’s is once again the site of a show in someone’s memory. Namely, Emilia Marie Di Guardia, whose life was cut short back in July after just 13 days.

The difference in age and life experience between Billy and Emilia couldn’t be more extreme, but the presence of both are still felt within the local music scene.

Emilia was born June 19 at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the first child of Chris and Danyelle Di Guardia. Chris is a well-known and well-liked music writer who posts daily updates to the Boston Band Crush blog and also performs live with Spirit Kid.

At T.T.’s, on the same stage that toasted Ruane a few weeks ago, Chris will play keys with Spirit Kid at the “Calling All Angels” benefit concert. The show will raise money for the Di Guardias’ Friends of Emilia non-profit (friendsofemilia.org), which gives back to Beth Israel’s Newborn Intensive Care Unit, with door proceeds to be matched by Boston Duck Tours. Also on the all-day matinee bill are Bang Camaro, Stereo Telescope, Casey Desmond, Gem Club, Sidewalk Driver, and Lovewhip.

“It was so easy putting this together — people came to us,” says Boston Band Crush’s Ashley Willard, who teamed up with Okay Thursday’s Sarah Korval and former Township manager Katie Puzo. “Over the past five or six years, Chris has really made an impact on the local music scene. He’s written about everyone in this town.”

That includes one of the first articles on Bang Camaro. “His writing shows he genuinely cares about music as an artform, even though he has to operate within a medium that is designed to drive commerce,” says Alex Necochea. “He’s kind of like our own Cameron Crowe.”

Now the story the Di Guardias are telling is their own, using music to relay Emilia’s struggle. “If I was able to pick all the bands, it’d be a three-day festival,” says Chris. “But one thing we’ve tried to do is not make it heavy. We can’t handle an eternal funeral.”

It’s been an emotional five months for the Di Guardias. Emilia was not expected to arrive until September, but on June 17, the Wilmington couple found themselves abruptly transported via ambulance from Winchester Hospital to Beth Israel. Danyelle had developed pre-eclampsia, a blood-pressure disorder that can be fatal to the mother if the child is not immediately delivered. “We went for the routine monthly appointment on Thursday, ended up with a baby on Saturday,” Chris explains.

Emilia was born 11 weeks premature, and screaming like mad through her first few breaths. She weighed just one pound 11 ounces and measured 13 inches long — yet she was otherwise healthy.

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