Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

December 20, 2013

Tunes for tornado victims

Five area bands coming together to help those affected by storms.

By Lindsey Ziliak
Kokomo Tribune

---- — It’s a little bit country, a little bit blues and a little bit rock and roll and comes 100 percent from the heart.

Five area bands are coming together tonight for a benefit show to help victims of the Nov. 17 tornado that tore through Kokomo.

Hear from Paul Stout Country, Mike Milligan and Steam Shovel, Flyin Blynd, Branded Bluegrass and Right Turn.

An Elvis impersonator will also make an appearance at Elite Banquet & Conference Center. Bands start at 5 p.m., and dinner is served at that time.

There will be an auction from 6 to 7 p.m.

The last band takes the stage at 11 p.m.

Enjoy a beef and noodle dinner and listen to music late into the night for just $10. All proceeds are being donated to the Red Cross to help those around town who lost homes and businesses in the storms.

Milligan said he’s been playing with his band for 20 years now and has become really selective about shows he performs. He plays at only a handful of benefit concerts each year.

When local DJ Rebecca McWhirt sought out area bands for this show, though, Milligan was one of the first to sign up.

“My friends’ houses were crushed in the tornado,” he said. “It could have been me. It wasn’t, but it could have been.”

Milligan was just waiting for someone to organize a benefit show, so he could jump in and help.

McWhirt said all five bands stepped in immediately to help. Since then, the community has been getting excited about it.

“I was really blown away by the quick response” she said. “It’s wonderful. It’s just been escalating.”

People have been calling her to let her know their whole family will be at the show. She’s put together goody bags to give away to children at the event and is trying to get Santa Claus to make an appearance.

And then there’s the music. There’s something for everyone. You have country, bluegrass and rock and roll.

Milligan said Paul Stout has made a name for himself in the country scene and has released several albums, and Right Turn is a well-known rock band in the area.

“You have a nice variety and mix of bands,” Milligan said. “The night shows should flow and blend in intensity and volume. I’m looking forward to it.”

It should get loud at times, he said. But they’re not being loud for the sake of being loud.

“It’s not just loudness,” he said. “It’s the energy we bring.”

The goal is to raise $5,000 to help people in the community. Milligan said he hopes to raise every bit of that and more.

“I hope everyone who needs our help gets it,” he said.

Lindsey Ziliak, Tribune Life & Style editor, can be reached at 765-454-8585, at lindsey.ziliak@kokomotribune.com or via Twitter @LindseyZiliak.