Kansas guitarist Rich Williams said Tuesday he hopes many people come out to support Erik Ramstad Middle School at a benefit concert on May 1.
The well-known band, which is based in Atlanta, Ga., will perform at the Minot Municipal Auditorium. The Minot Symphony Orchestra, which is donating its time and services, will also perform at the event. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for the 8 p.m. concert. Proceeds from the concert are going to benefit the Erik Ramstad Middle School band program, which lost more than $200,000 worth of sheet music and equipment in last summer's flood.
Tickets to the concert are $50. They can be purchased at Erik Ramstad Middle School Music Department, Jacobsen Music, Northwest Music and Sound, Budget Music and Video, and Minot Area Council for the Arts and Minot Public Schools Administration Building. Ramstad band director Pat Schwan said there are still tickets for sale. "We're hoping for a huge crowd," said Schwan. "I hope people will come out to support the cause." All proceeds go to the band program.
Williams, one of the founding members of the group that got its start in Topeka, Kan., some 39 years ago, said it is harder today for a kid to commit himself to being a musician than it was when he was in high school.
"There wasn't as much to do," said Williams, who said it takes a "unique individual" to devote himself to the love of music with all of the other activities that kids can participate in. Williams said communities like Minot should support those kids and give them a boost by helping to support their music program.
The band consists of Williams, singer/keyboardist Steve Walsh, violinist David Ragsdale, bassist Billy Greer and drummer Phil Ehart. The songs they will be performing at the May 1 concert are taken from their new live DVD, "There's No Place Like Home." Williams said the DVD is a selection of past and present hits.
Williams said it's hard for him to have any one favorite song after so many years of performing, but some of the songs the band has written are really well-suited to being played with the accompaniment of a symphony orchestra.
He thinks the song "Nobody's Home" is a highlight of the concert and he's also partial to "Cheyenne Anthem," a song he said he is very dramatic and extremely powerful with a symphony.
The band has regularly performed benefit concerts to raise money for college and university music programs, as well as continuing to play on a regular tour schedule. Williams said the Ramstad concert is a bit different since it's a benefit for a middle school music program, but it's still a benefit. He said the band members like participating in a good cause. Williams said he also just likes doing what they do and doing it for a good cause is an added benefit.
Schwan has been in touch via email with Ehart. Schwan had heard about the band's Collegiate Symphony Tour and contacted Ehart to ask if he'd be interested in helping Ramstad. Ehart immediately replied and that is how the benefit concert in Minot was eventually arranged.
Kansas has offered its services at a reduced rate and will make a donation to the school, said Schwan in March.