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Press Release – Fundraiser for Kalamazoo Band Going to International Blues Challenge

January 9, 2012

From a Millennium Restaurant Group press release….

Area Band to Represent Kalamazoo at the International Blues Challenge

KALAMAZOO — Each year The Blues Foundation hosts the International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis, Tennessee. From January 31 to February 4, 2012 the Legendary Beale St entertainment district will house the most prestigious blues competition in the world; drawing artists from all over the globe. Winners of this competition are awarded cash prizes, professional press kits, promotional considerations and gigs at some of the largest blues festivals in the United States, Canada and Europe. The competitors are scored in five areas; blues content, talent, vocals, originality and stage presence. Bands wishing to compete in the IBC must be an unsigned act and sponsored by a Blues Foundation affiliate. Affiliates are encouraged by the Blues Foundation to hold a competition based on the same scoring criteria used in the IBC.

On Sunday October 2nd, The Kalamazoo Valley Blues Association, a local 501(c)3 organization and Blues Foundation affiliate dedicated to the preservation of blues music and its relevance as an original American art form, held a competition to send an unsigned act from Michigan to compete in this world renown competition. Several bands with enormous talent battled it out to see who would represent Kalamazoo in Memphis. Crossroads Resurrection, formerly Crossroads Blues Band was the stand out winner. Crossroads, formed in 1993 as the host band for the jam sessions at Wonderful’s Funky Basement, has been a West Michigan Favorite band since its inception. Not only is this band a crowd pleaser, but are talented enough to have won a sponsorship to the IBC competition in the past and have shared a stage with world class blues acts such as Lonnie Brooks, Tab Benoit and Little Charlie and the Nightcats. In fact, the band has such a strong local following that a large contingent of local Kalamazoo followers plan to travel to Memphis to support their hometown boys.

Says Eddie Lester, “We’re very honored to be representing the KVBA a second time.  This is our home turf, and even though we’ve competed for other organizations in the past, it feels good to be doing it for the home town.”

Band members Eddie “Blue” Lester (saxophone and vocals), Dave “Gator” Allemang (guitar and vocals), Nick Cekola (Bass), John Ford (Keyboards), Jeff “Fuego” Fernandez (Drums) are excited to return to Memphis for another chance to compete, and network with talented musicians, promoters, and music aficionados from around the world.

“It’s not just the competition that’s important,” says Dave Allemang.  “We wouldn’t do it if we didn’t want to win, but at the same time, the IBC is a wonderful networking opportunity. It’s a chance to be in the right place at the right time—to have your music heard by such a large group of people who know and understand what you’re trying to do, and who recognize and appreciate the creative effort that goes into your music.  There’s nothing else like it.”

Having enough talent to win a sponsorship to Memphis is just the first rung of the ladder so to speak, in the climb to winning the Memphis competition. A good portion of that climb is raising the funds needed to help defray the cost of travel, accommodations, food and etc. The IBC can be a very costly venture, but the opportunities and rewards are priceless. The local music community has come together to help support Crossroads in this tremendous venture. The Union Cabaret has generously offered to be the hosting venue of a fundraiser to help the band raise money to cover these expenses. The Union Cabaret on the Kalamazoo mall is well known not just for their fantastic food and drink menu, but also as a first rate venue to listen and see some of the finest local musical talent. Crossroads Resurrection themselves will provide the entertainment, treating those attending to a preview of their Memphis IBC set.

The Union Cabaret and Grille
125 S. Kalamazoo Mall

Sunday January 22, 2012
4 pm to 8 pm

Donations taken at the door

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