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BENNINGTON — When the Julie Shea Band played its last show earlier last month, the band decided the gate receipts from its last show would go to good causes.

As a result, the proceeds from that concert, at the Bennington Elks Lodge No. 567 on April 14, were split between two local organizations serving veterans: the Vermont Veterans Home Activities Program, and Vermont Paws & Boots Inc., owned and operated by Bennington native Michelle LeBlanc.

Shea and the band, which performed regularly throughout the area, brought their nine-year run to an end when their lead guitarist, John Carson, moved out of the area.

“I will be taking a bit of a break while I figure out what’s next in addition to my solo work,” Shea said.

The decision to donate the proceeds from the farewell show was easy, Shea said.

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“I have the absolute highest regard and admiration for our veterans. They deserve our help,” Shea said. “And Michelle’s program training service dogs for veterans and first responders touches my heart. There’s nothing like the companionship of a dog.”

Vermont Paws & Boots pairs and trains veterans and first responders from Vermont and nearby states with a rescue dog, helping them deal with stress, trauma, brain injuries as well as other service-connected injuries. The nonprofit is expanding in the future to a new location with hopes of helping people from all over the country.

Bringing the Julie Shea Band to a close after nine years was bittersweet, Shea said.

“When we started out, we were playing both weekend nights every week and sometimes more. We worked hard to continue to improve individually and as a band,” she said. The band had scaled back its shows just before the COVID pandemic shut down most venues for months.

“It was hard to keep up the pace with all of us working full time and keeping up with family life and all the other things,” she said. “But we became good friends. We are all missing that band relationship.”

Greg Sukiennik is Northshire editor for Vermont News & Media. Reach him at

Greg Sukiennik has worked at all three Vermont News & Media newspapers and was their managing editor from 2017-19. He previously worked for, for the AP in Boston, and at The Berkshire Eagle in Pittsfield, Mass.


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