CoChilla to feature original tunes, help animals

A selection of the area’s musical talent will be on display this weekend at Big Chill Surf Cantina, for CoChilla — a unique event that showcases local songwriters while raising money for the Georgetown SPCA.

“CoChilla has grown bigger and better with each event, since the first in 2013,” said Melissa Alesi, a local musician who created the event. “Having dogs come out with their owners really makes the event feel different from other fundraisers. It’s a fun, inviting atmosphere, and we’ve gotten a lot of great feedback in the past.”

The event will be held this Sunday, Oct. 18, at the Big Chill in Rehoboth Beach, from 4 to 8 p.m. Humans and their dogs are welcome to attend, with pups receiving a free dog treat to enjoy that evening.

“Ideally, the event will be outside on the stage,” said Alesi. “The Big Chill has an amazing outdoor space that’s perfect for listening and also for owners to bring their dogs. Dogs are welcome and encouraged. We have a fun time socializing with the dogs and they enjoy it, too!”

During the event, 10 percent of the total sales at Big Chill will be donated to the Georgetown SPCA. Additionally, that evening there will be a silent auction items from the Cultured Pearl, Concord Pets—Rehoboth, Casa DiLeo’s, Midway Fitness & Racquetball, Good News Natural Foods, Pineapple Princess Swimwear, 16 Mile Brewery, Oasis Wellness Spa and Mark Stoehr for pet acupuncture sessions. All proceeds from the silent auction, as well as a 50/50 raffle, private donations and a wine grab-bag, will go to the local SPCA.

“Atlantic Liquors has donated wine for our Wine Grab-Bag,” explained Alesi. “The bottles will be concealed in a bag, and for a donation of $10, you get to choose a bag. So you walk away with a bottle of wine, but it’s a surprise which bottle you’ll get.”

The event was created by Alesi, a local musician and songwriter, three years ago, as a way for local musicians to showcase their original music.

“This area has a great music scene, but when I spoke to some of my musician friends that are gigging in the circuit, they also felt as if they had to stay confined within the ‘cover band’ box. There are really great singer-songwriters right here in our back yard that are writing music that should be heard!

“I am also an animal lover, and when I realized that the Big Chill was regularly hosting fundraising events for local organizations, I saw an opportunity to bring people out to raise money for the animals and feature local artists at the event.

“The attendees really enjoyed hearing different music from their favorite local artists, and the artists really enjoyed getting to play their own songs in a place where they felt encouraged to share them. To raise money for the Delaware SPCA, and be able to do it in such a way that’s very personal and fun for the musicians and attendees, is something that I am very proud to be a part of.”

Alesi thanked the event’s sponsors, Oasis Wellness Spa and Alesi Construction, who have helped her get the word out.

“[They] have generously donated to cover the expense of radio advertisements on 93.5. We will also be talking about the event live on 98.1 and all the details this Friday, Oct. 6, at 6 with D.J. BK.”

Along with Alesi, local musicians scheduled to perform include Bryan Russo, Taylor Knox, Tyler Greene, Jodi Lynn Cohee and Honey Queen.

“It’s important for local artists to have an outlet to perform original material, because this is our passion! These songs are from within us, and to have a place that encourages original material gives us a chance to break out of that cover-material box and share another side of us.

“And the audience enjoys the original material just as much as we enjoy playing it. It’s a refreshing and magical experience for both the audience and musicians, to have other people getting into a piece that you wrote.”

Alesi said she hopes the event will continue to grow in the coming years, in attendance and support.

“A big thanks to the Big Chill Surf Cantina for holding the event. I hope we can continue to expand and get more donations for silent auctions, more and more attendees coming out with their dogs, and more musicians eager to donate their time,” she said.

Big Chill Surf Cantina is located at 19406 Coastal Highway in Rehoboth Beach. For more information, call (302) 727-5568, or visit