Eagle’s Wings branches out with new fundraiser

Published 12:18 am Wednesday, February 13, 2013

On the tails of Taste of America, a dinner and live auction held last month, Eagle’s Wings once more branches out with a new, and different, type of fundraising event: a jazz concert.

At 3 p.m. Sunday, the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) of Washington will be swinging as jazz group Just Friends plays for the public’s donations for support of the local food pantry.

According to Beth Clark, music director and organist for First Christian, this won’t be your average jazz concert.

Just Friends — also the name of a 1931 song, now considered a jazz standard — is the name of the band that features Bob Hawkins on flute and clarinet, saxophonist Brian Harris, Frank Tatum on keyboard and also the group’s vocalist, Gene Schaeffer playing bass and Bill Dunn on drums.

According to Clark, Hawkins’s request to do the Eagle’s Wings fundraiser at the venue is a church first. Hawkins, a former Methodist preacher from the Richmond area, said that a large part of his ministry was to help people who didn’t have resources. Though retired, he is continues to make finding ways to provide those resources part of his life.

“That’s how I got mixed up with Eagle’s Wings,” Hawkins laughed.

Hawkins described the upcoming concert as eclectic: Dixieland jazz — which he describes as the band’s first love — some classical, some standard jazz, with an improvised duet between clarinet and drums thrown in for fun. And it was love of their eclectic style of music that brought the group together.

“We’re all retired and we started playing for the fun of it four or five years ago. We’d all been professionals in a former life,” Hawkins said, who earned both theology and music degrees. “So we decided, let’s give a concert.”

“We haven’t done a concert (for Eagle’s Wings) before,” Clark said. “We’ve done a lot of canned food drives and during the year the children try to gather up canned food and nonperishable goods. But we’ve never done a musical offering.”

Hawkins said that a good time will be had by all at Sunday’s concert because Just Friends has a very lighthearted program in store.

“It swings,” he said. “There will be a lot of toe-tapping.”

First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is located at 401 E. Second St., Washington. During the concert baskets will be set up to accept monetary offerings; checks should be made payable to First Christian Church.