Saturday, May 25, 2013

Blank Check Project, One More

My buddy Tater (seriously) says "music is too important to be left to professionals." I tend to agree.

Still . . . when professionals play it, and they're playing it with excitement and energy, music is important and magical. 

Last night, my old friend Doug Schuler brought his altruistic band, the Blank Check Project, "home."  The stage of the Watseka Theatre was filled with three singers, a six piece horn section, two guitarists, a drummer, a bassist, and two keyboard players (one of whom also sang lead and backing vocals). Watsekan Steve Courtright sat in on one song, playing an acoustic guitar he made. There were no weak links in the chain. 

The band played something for everyone.  There were original numbers - and favorites from Chicago, Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire, Rascal Flatts, and more.  Because I don't have to be creative with superlatives, I'll just say everything was wow, wow, WOW!!!

The energy in the Theatre may have caused structural damage. 

I'm hoping these folks do another show. 

Thank you to Doug, the band, the crew, and everyone who made the evening happen.  

I'm hoping someone will credit the musicians and crew in the comments. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Mr. Rogers


I'm passing on what seems like small town sensibility.

Who among us never watched "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood?"  Mr. Rogers spoke at commencement at my (and many of your) alma mater in 2001. I've attached, below, a link to the text of his speech.

I'm posting this today because: Marquette shared it; I'm (like you are) growing weary of how divided our society has become; and it's very good.

We probably can't redirect the anger of all of our citizens, tone down the vitriol of the television and radio pundits, or make our politicians and public employees treat each other with respect and dignity. But, we can make our little corners of the world better by how we view and treat each person we meet.  I think that's kind of what Mr. Rogers is suggesting.

I'd encourage you to take five minutes and read what I've attached.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Big, IMPORTANT, Event at the Watseka Theatre, May 24, 2013

On Friday, May 24, 2013, Doug Schuler, WCHS 1980, is bringing his “Blank Check Project” to Iroquois County for a concert at the Watseka Theatre.

I’m hoping to go (I have to convince a judge to let me go early that Friday – ponder that). I hope to see you all there.

“Tom,” you’re asking, “what’s the Blank Check Project?”

Well . . . a short while ago Doug gathered some of the best musicians (including Watseka’s Steve Courtright) in Chicago and produced an album of great music. He did it to raise money for the new Walter Reed – which is where many wounded warriors go to heal.

Unfortunately, the last 12 years have created a tremendous need for the resources Walter Reed provides. Those resources are limited by government budgets.

Fortunately, there are people like Doug, his fellow musicians, and you, who are willing to ante up to make the Walter Reed stays of our wounded soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen/women better.

“Wow,” you’re thinking, “I want to support our wounded warriors too . . .  and I want to hear what Doug’s got going on. How do I get in on this?” 

Hey --- it’s easy. You can call the Watseka Theatre and order tickets. Better yet, get on the Theatre's website and get your tickets that way. Take a look at the dinner option too. The Theatre's website and number are set forth below.

Then, you can get on iTunes, search for the “Blank Check Project,” and download the album.

The concert will be great. It may be the best thing to hit Watseka since the first Van Natta put canned peaches on his grocery’s shelves.

The album is really good . . . I mean – it’s REALLY GOOD. Download it or buy it at the concert. Use money you’d otherwise spend on liquor, fancy-pants coffee, or Powerball tickets (I know, most of you have no vices . . . so you have the money anyway). 

You won't be disappointed. And, you’ll be supporting somebody who shed blood for you. That gesture, more than your money, means a lot.

Watseka Theatre: 815-993-6585

For more information about the Blank Check Project:


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Judge Dannehl

I miss the days when the Times Republic (on-line) was free. Friday's "Living History" lessons provide great snapshots of life in Iroquois County.

I have some favorites.  I enjoyed the essays about Mssrs. Sampson and Brown, and Mrs. Drake. I also liked the ones about Mr. Ponton (the musician) and Mrs. Shaw (the teacher who recently passed away). Sadly, I did not save those and can't find them online.

I've attached a link to a favorite I could find. It has a tremendous amount of detail about growing up in Iroquois County during the depression and service in World War II.

What's absent, and if you know him then you know it's because he wouldn't say it, is how devoted Judge Dannehl was to his community and the fair administration of justice.