Concert for Eileen to raise funds and reunite bands
The reasons for a benefit concert are usually not good. However, the outpouring of community, kindness and compassion that go into planning and orchestrating a fundraising event usually create a proverbial silver lining.
Such is the case with A Concert For Eileen, scheduled for Saturday, March 10 at Shank Hall, 1434 N. Farwell Ave. The show starts early – at 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.) — and has a $10 cover charge.
"Eileen's been a friend for a long time. Given her situation, a few of us thought it would be great to help her and raise as much money as we can so she can chip away at her mounting medical and living expenses," says musician Mike Benign. "The ulterior motive is to rock, which is pretty much always a good thing."
The concert is a benefit for Eileen Worman, an artist, mother and musician who is friends with many people in the local music scene. Eileen, who has undergone three unsuccessful surgeries, needs a new kidney and is currently on the transplant list.
Worman often endures three-hour dialysis appointments three times a week and spends many of her days in pain. Consequently, she has been unable to work for three years and her medical and personal expenses have become overwhelming.
The event features short sets by Sat. Nite Duets, Semi-Twang, The Wooldridge Brothers, Commander Tang, Nineteen Thirteen and reunion performances by The Yell Leaders (featuring OnMilwaukee.com managing editor Bobby Tanzilo on drums), Generic Beans and Arms & Legs & Feet.
"The bands got involved because most of the musicians know Eileen personally and they care about her well being. Some of these bands have not played together in years and are coming together in her honor," says Eileen's sister, Elise Worman.
Many others are contributing to the evening, in addition to Benign, who organized the show. Also, Kim Hawkins created the poster, Paul Biemann is coordinating staging and logistics and artists Jeanne Bascom and Elise, Eileen's sisters, will sell art at the show.
"Peter Jest and the folks at Shank Hall have been very accommodating," says Benign, who will play with Arms & Legs & Feet for the event and currently fronts The Mike Benign Compulsion.
Eileen was an avid walker, often logging 3-5 miles a day. Now, walking around the block is considered a "good" day. However, Elise says despite all of the adversity, her sister remains positive.
"She is an amazing spirit who has given much to those who know her and the community. She is a bit overwhelmed at the response to this concert. A big 'thank you' from our family goes out to all of the musicians involved," says Elise.
The Concert for Eileen represents a common scenario as musicians age and might not have health insurance. Luckily, many musicians are usually a part of a large creative community with an abundance of talents that make fundraising events come together successfully.
"We were supposed to stay young and healthy forever. I'm still trying to figure out why that didn't happen," says Benign.
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