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Bands Play for Student

Organizers Try to Raise Awareness of Need for Bone-Marrow Donors

The Morning News - Monday, October 16, 2000
By Matt McGowan

PRAIRIE GROVE — Framed by fighting tigers high on the wall at the far end of the gymnasium, the band COREfor... settled into an easy groove, slowly introducing the addition of each instrument.

One band member asked children to recognize the sonic effect created by a gentle plucking of the strings on the bass guitar.

While adults clapped in sync to the steady rhythm and beat maintained by the band, toddlers with smiles and laughter chased each other in circles at mid-court.

The power of music brought the members of this community together Sunday afternoon to show their support for Blu Green, a 17-year-old high school student who is fighting leukemia. The music festival was organized by Ronda Blakemore and a small group of individuals to help cover medical expenses for the Green family and to raise awareness of the need for bone-marrow donors.

Originally planned to take place at the adjacent football field, the event was moved indoors because of intermittent rain Sunday. But the gray sky outside didn’t dampen the mood of the music lovers. In addition to COREfor..., they came to dance to the sounds of Outside the Lines, Hard Tops, Firewater, Mr. Pink, Michael Pearson and, most notably, Trout Fishing in America.

After playing an early set, Ezra Idlet of Trout Fishing in America enjoyed visiting with friends outside the gymnasium. Idlet lives just south of Prairie Grove. His two children attend Prairie Grove schools, and for him and his family, Sunday’s festival was special. Idlet said that Beth Green, Blu’s mother, baby-sat his children when they were younger.

Idlet said that Blu’s parents, Mike and Beth Green, have both positively affected the community. "Beth’s raised a lot of kids," said Idlet. "She did day care before there was day care."

Mike Green, the Prairie Grove high school basketball coach, had worked with Idlet’s children at basketball camps.

Idlet and Keith Grimwood have played music together for 24 years. They’ve forged a friendship that transcends music. Grimwood said he was proud to perform Sunday.

"I’m happy to do it," he said. "I don’t personally know the (Green) family, but I do know they need some help. I know this is important for Ezra. He’s come through for me in the past, so here I am for him."

Grimwood mentioned a selfish component for him in playing at Sunday’s fund-raiser. "This is like a music festival," he said. "I get to hear some great live music. We got to jam with Outside the Lines."

Blakemore supported Idlet’s description of Mike Green’s character. Her son, John, died in 1997 after being diagnosed with leukemia in 1995. Green also coached John and had a positive effect on him. "Coach Green would call and lift John’s spirits," said Blakemore.

Blakemore’s role in the fund-raiser and helping the Greens is motivated by her experience with her son. She said she and the Greens have developed a special friendship. "I think that we share a bond now because I’ve been through the same thing," said Blakemore. "I think I can offer support that others can’t."

By 3:30 p.m., Blakemore and other volunteers had gathered 25 signatures from people who have offered to become bone-marrow donors. These individuals will have their names included on national and international registries as potential donors.

Blakemore said that anyone interested in becoming a donor should contact her at 846-2017 or 846-4255. Blakemore also said that anyone interested in contributing money to help pay for the bone-marrow donations can send a check, written to Heart of America, to Blakemore at P.O. Box 227, Prairie Grove, 72753.

© 2001 The contents of this article, unless otherwise specified, are copyright of The Donrey Media Group. Nothing herein may be used or reproduced without the express written consent of The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas and The Donrey Media Group.