Milwaukee – November fundraiser event

Chugga-Chugga-Chugga-Chugga-Choo-Choo! “Roll on, Milwaukee Road!”

Of course you know that song, I wrote it! It comes from the “Glow” album. The song is about me, the train, that was born in Milwaukee. Born out of my mama’s dreams.

So, anyway, I returned for a second time within two months to do a fundraiser for Gathering on the Green, and for the Tom Cheeks Scholarship Fund. Tom Cheeks was a brilliant teacher and adviser, who mentored and impacted several generations of students, educators, politicians, and mothers and fathers and families. It’s his legacy that we honor with this scholarship to educate teachers who commit to teaching in the Milwaukee system for at least five years. I, and scores of other young people, went on to collages and universities because of him.

I’ve sung other times at Gathering on the Green- a group that reaches lots of marginalized kids in center city, and other similar neighborhoods in the Milwaukee area. GOTG works to support STEAM programs in the schools… Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math.  As the public school district cut back on their coverage these very important subjects, somebody has to fill the void.  That is Gathering on the Green’s mission… to help these kids have a chance.

A wonderful connection that you can call coincidence, serendipity, or the hand of God- that Beth is from the Harold Samson family. Papa Harold owned the Red Carpet Inn, where I sang as college student with the Les Czimber Trio, getting my feet wet on the first steps of the yellow brick road. And here we are, nearly fifty years later, meeting this way and under these circumstances, and thrilled to the bone. Rob, Beth and her team sent invitations to a wonderfully precious and select group of enlightened, community-minded heavy hitters, who have been friendly to the needy through the years. The situation and circumstances of that evening were wonderfully special, and cozy and warm. GOTG talked to the Ouzakee County Country Club, and found some open hearts that offered us their banquet room, with a full bar, which was elegant and relaxed at the same time. We talked early on and decided to make the appearance especially intimate and personal, by my performing as a duo with Joe Turano (Also from Milwaukee!). Joe’s been in the touring band for almost 15 years now, and we have just started performing as a duo. New stuff that shows a real close up view to what I am and what I do. It’s different, and it was a smash!!! People saw and heard things, in a different way, than ever before. And we raised a nice chunk of money, too.

A reception followed the performance, and it was fabulous, to say the least, to be here, at home, on an occasion like this. I looked up and saw John Givens and Auggie Ray, class of ’55 Lincoln High School (The first group of Tom’s Kids – Tom Cheeks). I almost yelled in surprise. When you have friends like this, there’s a secret, somewhere deep in the smiles and greetings, that is worth a billion dollars. GAWD I love that! Anyway, when you see Rob and Beth, tell them to pass along my thanks and gratitude to all the guests, and staff of the country club.


Share : facebooktwittergoogle plus

Leave us a comment

Comments are closed.