Mr. B: A2 homecoming ... on to Canton and Livonia

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Yesterday was glorious for the JBE. Every premise of our project was tested, and the results were fantastic. We started in Chelsea, the winter home of the JBE, where Aberdeen Bike and Outdoors shelters and maintains the piano/bike. Our everlasting gratitude to Mike Casey and his staff. We depend on them mightily, and they always take care of us.

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We played a concert on the lawn of the Chelsea Library; a hundred people or more gathered in the shade to hear us play. It felt like a time gone by, with folks getting close to hear us play without amplification. The group really responded to our appeal to recognize our efforts by making donations to their favorite local charities. This is a small, but effective mechanism we employ – having neighbors sit side by side, reflecting on the value of their local organizations. We act as a catalyst, spurring on their charitable notions into tangible gifts; it feels great to all of us involved.

 

After the concert we formed up into a group ride into A2, everyone enjoying each other’s company on a beautiful summer day. We ended up at the Wolverine State Brewing Co., where an over-capacity crowd greeted us with cheers. Ten or 12 men helped lift the piano/bike down a stair into the room, and we soon began to play to our hometown fans. The vibe in the air was wonderful, supportive and wild with enthusiasm for what we're trying to achieve.

After a brief intermission, we gathered all the group ride team captains to tally the results. Prizes were awarded in five categories: most improved rider, youngest rider, most team riders, most pledges garnered, and most dollars raised. Six charities raised a combined $2,900 and counting, with more pledges encouraged. I feel so proud of our modest band of minstrels, playing a role most of us never get the chance to: We're community builders and active participants in helping to maintain our cultural institutions – it's a dream come true.

We're knockin' on the door of the home stretch, today we ride to Canton, tomorrow on to the Trinity House Theater in Livonia for an evening gig. Wednesday we ride into the D, with a gig at Cliff Bell's from 7-9 p.m. This one is close to my heart, it's a fundraiser to pay for a headstone for my great pal and wonderful piano player, Boogie Woogie Red. The Detroit Blues Society has recently laid a beautiful stone at Red's gravesite, we're hoping to pay for it, or a part of it. We're hoping Detroiters will turn out to honor one of their own, a really fine bluesman, and sweet soul.

REMEMBER: We are at the Scarab Club Thursday at 1 p.m., and our grand finale is a group ride forming at the John R entrance to the DIA on Friday at 2:30. We'll cruise the city and return for our final hits, 4:30 and 6 p.m. at the DIA.

Please come and celebrate with us!

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