First-call musicians jam for charities

Ashland's first-call musicians — those most in demand to play local professional gigs — are often the first to volunteer for benefit shows aimed at raising awareness and resources for such charitable causes as 2005's Hurricane Katrina and 2010's Haiti earthquake.

When Ashland artist Peter Spring learned of Katrina's destruction, he moved to New Orleans for more than four years to assist with school band programs. With resources raised by his Steven Spring Foundation — a nonprofit named after his late son — he was able to offer a free children's music camp and a free piano-tuning and repair school.

On Thursday, Jan. 26, Spring, along with drummer Tom Stamper, keyboard player Dal Carver and guitarists Dirk Price, Jeff Stanley, Justin Wade and Robbie DaCosta, will present the annual Steven Spring and Kipp Crawford Memorial Jam. The event is set for 7 to 10 p.m. at the Ashland Community Center, 59 Winburn Way.

Spring's son succumbed to cancer in early 2002. Crawford was killed in 2009 in a traffic accident in Portland.

"Steven played bass, and Kipp played drums," Spring says. "They were members of the Ashland High School band Fifth Business."

The group also featured AHS students Paul Nash on trumpet, Jesse Molloy on sax, John Turman on guitar, Tim Smith on trombone and vocalist Amanda Spring.

"They traveled to Los Angeles to perform as a back-up band for up-and-coming singers who'd entertain at record executives' pool parties. They had a great time."

Crawford had been a student of Stamper, and he was performing with several bands, including Celilo and Redwood Son, around Portland.

Spring would be better labeled as a Renaissance man than a musician. He is a multi-instrumentalist, recording artist, playwright and author.

His two-person play about grief, "DRIVE," was presented in late 2009 at the New Orleans Fringe Festival. When he returned to Ashland in 2010, he created a DVD of the play, with Shirley Patton in one of the roles, along with an accompanying CD, "Songs for the Living." The DVD and the CD will be available at the benefit jam.

A slide presentation about the history of the Steven Spring Foundation and the work it has accomplished in New Orleans will precede the jam session, and Vern and Jean Crawford will talk about the Kipp Crawford Memorial Fund of the Ashland Schools Foundation — an endowment that provides funds for the AHS Jazz Band.

Spring will discuss his upcoming instructional book about music, "The Tao of Music, Sex, Death and the Kitchen Sink." The workbook will apply the principles of musical harmony to politics, psychology and spirituality.

Admission to the jam is free, but donations of money and new and used musical instruments — to be donate to the Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans — will be accepted.

Coffee, appetizers and baked goodies will be available. See or call 541-324-8275.

Share This Story