They sacrifice to send kids to concert

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Date: Jun 13, 2001
Source: The St. Petersburg Times
Submitted By: jmw

Carrying low-cost earplugs and high-price tickets, parents bring their kids to hear the Backstreet Boys.

By LINDA GIBSON

TAMPA -- Between them, Tammy Wood and Jesse Spencer brought three girls to the Backstreet Boys concert Saturday night at the Ice Palace.

Each of the girls -- Mandi Wood, 7, her sister Megan, 8, and Katelyn Spencer, 7 -- wore T-shirts printed with the band's picture. Katelyn's father carried a handful of earplugs in one pocket.

The adults had two words to describe the event: "Too expensive."

Five tickets at $107 each.

"The things we do for our kids," said Tammy Wood.

It wasn't even her kids' first concert. Megan and Mandi saw the Backstreet Boys last year.

In another 10 years, they may be as experienced as Janina DeBiase and Brittany Buckney, two 17-year-olds who drove up from Sarasota. They couldn't remember how many times they have seen the Boys, but this was their third concert in the band's current tour.

Fort Lauderdale, New Orleans, Atlanta -- they listed the previous concerts with nonchalance. The 1998 Mitsubishi GT they drove was plastered with pictures of the band and a big sign: "Honk if you love BSB."

At a table nearby in the Shots bar and restaurant on the first floor of the Ice Palace, Susan Gervolino of Orlando thought about the $321 she spent for tickets and wished she had brought earplugs.

It was the first concert for her two girls, 9-year-old Casey and 10-year-old Jaclyn.

"This is our big event of the summer," said their mother.

Are you going to sing along with the band? someone asked Jaclyn.

"No, I'll probably just scream," she said.

The restaurant provided a good warm-up for the main event. Music blasted at a level that required conversation to be shouted, giving ears and throats a good workout before the concert.

At another table, 7-year-old Megan Buntin, a student at Lewis Elementary School in Tampa, shook her head when asked whether she would scream when the band came on. She was a little worried about staying up past her usual 8:30 p.m. bedtime.

Not so her grandmother, Renee Buntin.

"I'm ready to scream and holler," said Buntin. She attended concerts by Creedence Clearwater Revival, Elvis and Tom Jones. Her former sister-in-law still has the hankie that Tom Jones used to wipe sweat from his face at the concert she and Buntin attended.

Laurie and Jeff Kapugi brought sons Zak, 7,and Alex, 10. At home, the boys like to dress as their favorite Backstreet Boys and perform for their parents, lip-syncing along with the music, said Laurie.

Alex rolled his eyes when a stranger asked him whether only girls like the Backstreet Boys.

"Girls just think they're cute," he said. "Their music's great."

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