MARQUETTE - A son's tribute to his parents' enduring love has evolved into a concert which will raise funds for two local organizations dear to his family.
The Feb. 23 concert in the Negaunee High School auditorum will be "The Best of Broadway," featuring Negaunee native Jeff Jennings, who now lives in Green Bay, Wis., and local guest performers. The proceeds from the concert will be split between the Negaunee High School Choral Department and the Alzheimer's Association, U.P. Region.
And some funds from the sale of Jennings' latest CD, "Always," will be donated to the Alzheimer's group as well.
The Negaunee High School chorus rehearses Tuesday morning. The NHS choral program is one of the organizations which will benefit from a “Best of Broadway” concert planned for Feb. 23 at the school. The other organization which will receive funds is the Alzheimer Association’s Upper Peninsula Region. (Journal photo by Renee Prusi)
The new CD's title, Jennings said, is in honor of his mother, Beverly, and his late father, Bill. On the CD Jennings released last year, an a cappella version of that classic love song, "Always," was included.
"It was a tribute to my parents' 60-year love story which had transitioned into my father's battle with Alzheimer's disease and my mom's added role as devoted caretaker," Jennings said in an email. "I chose 'Always' to be the title for this year's in memory of my father who passed away one month after the last CD's release on Valentine's Day (2012) and in celebration of my mom's enduring diligence in caring for my father. My dad always was there for me and my mom continues to be."
Guest of honor at the Feb. 23 concert, which begins at 7 p.m., will be Marcia Nora Paquette, who teaches vocal music in the Marquette Area Public Schools.
"The Best of Broadway"
featuring Jeff Jennings and guests
7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23
Negaunee High School Auditorium
Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for school-aged children
Advance ticket sales are at Shelly's Floral, Midtown Bakery and Lakeview Elementary School (see Principal Julie Peterson), all in Negaunee; and from Younkers in Marquette. Tickets also will be available at the door the night of the concert.
Jeff Jennings' new CD "Always" will be available at the concert for $12 with a portion of the proceeds going to the local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association.
Other performers for the evening will include Bobby Glenn Brown, Janae Peterson, the NHS Chorale, the NHS Dance Team and the Lakeview Elementary School Chorus.
Songs from Broadway that will be performed at the concert include numbers from "Phantom of the Opera," "Jekyll and Hyde," "Pippin," "Miss Saigon," "Les Miserables" and "Jersey Boys," along with a number of other shows.
Ruth Almen, regional director for the Alzheimer's Association, said the concert has an impact, not just with the financial boost it gives, but in increased awareness.
"As the Baby Boomers keep turning 65, we know between the ages of 65 and 75, one out of eight of them will have Alzheimer's disease," Almen said. "And after our loved ones reach 85, one in every two people in this country will have Alzheimer's disease.
"Caregivers of Alzheimer's disease patients regularly experience depression and anxiety at higher levels than the person with Alzheimer's disease, often become isolated from friends, family and community due to the high stress and 24-hour demands of caregiving and often times are in poorer health because of their caregiving responsibilities," Almen said.
"Jeff's family knows first hand the horrific impact of this disease not only to the person living with it, but the losses and deep challenges in brings to each and every family member," she said. "Jeff's fundraiser for the Alzheimer's Association has had a positive impact on our ability to continue to provide support groups and training for caregivers, art and history museum tours for those with Alzheimer's disease and our continued advocacy at all levels to find a cure.
"We are honored to share the proceeds with the Negaunee High School Music Department, who provides such a good education to our youth and such an incredible service in our community."
The local chapter of the Alzheimer's Association is ready to help those who are dealing with the disease, Almen said.
"If you have any questions or concerns that you or someone you know may be experiencing difficulty with their memory, call us 24/7 at 800-272-3900 or locally at 228-3910."
Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org