WAKEFIELD - This Saturday and Sunday, Tune In and Tune Up, an initiative by the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame to bring healthcare and information to musicians who need it, will hold two historic fundraising Unity Concerts at the Ocean Mist featuring 16 bands hailing from the Ocean State.
Doors open at 6 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Besides the featured bands, the concert will host a new artist spotlight to support up-and-coming musicians, a nurse station, chair massages, consultations with a personal trainer, and raffles. The Hampton Inn will be providing a discounted package-deal to concert attendees for the weekend.
Don Culp, who is on the advisory board of the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame, a practicing musician, and a certified personal trainer, founded the Tune In and Tune Up program when he noticed that too many musicians in the state did not have health insurance and were suffering because of it.
“Musician’s lives are very difficult,” said Culp. “We work long hours and late nights. Most of the time, musicians just can’t afford health insurance. The healthcare system is screwed up in this country and is changing even more, now.”
The program provides offers health information and workshops on its website as well as a discount for health services at participating privately owned local offices. These services are available to all practicing musicians and people involved in the creation of music including sound people, lighting people and spouses of musicians.
Tune In and Tune Up has plans to expand to other sectors of freelance workers based on the outcome of the musician initiative. The program began with musicians because “that’s what the Music Hall of Fame does”.
The Rudy Cheeks band will be closing the night on Nov. 9. On Sunday, the band met at Culp’s house in North Kingstown to rehearse their set list, which includes a song called “The New Deal,” a jazzy history lesson written by Rudy Cheeks in 1976 about the failures of Roosevelt’s New Deal.
The band rehearsed in Culp’s soundproofed room alongside a rather large lava lamp, band posters and a framed picture of Johnny Cash. They went through Saturday night’s entire setlist, opening with a cover of “Fool Killer.”
“The one thing that musicians need that we can help with is healthcare,” said Cheeks over a cigar during a break in rehearsal. “Almost all musicians that we know don’t have health insurance.”
Culp continued, “we’re all grabbing for the same brass ring. We’re trying to bring the community together to support each other because we all have the same struggle.”
The Unity Concert will be the culmination of months of planning, rehearsing, promoting, and passionate dedication by everyone involved.
“We are making history here,” said Adrienne West of Longshot Voodoo, who will be singing with the Rudy Cheeks Band on Saturday. “It’s not just two shows.”
If You Go
The Unity Concerts to benefit Tune in and Tune Up will be held Saturday, Nov. 9 starting at 6 p.m. and Sunday, Nov, 10 at 2 p.m. at the Ocean Mist, Matunuck Beach Road, South Kingstown. Tickets cost $20 for one day or $35 for both days. For more information including a complete schedule of bands visit www.rhodeislandmusichalloffame.com .