Brainstorm Concert: New Charity for Traumatic Brain Injury Launched!
The first Brainstorm Concert was a complete success! After months of planning and preparing, nearly 800 guests came to support the cause of Brain Injury. The Carpenter Center on the campus of CSULB was buzzing with activity and energy. The lobby was alive with a welcoming festive feel as people gathered eager to learn more about our cause.
Two books telling the story of brain injury were sold: Who’s Crazy Now and Brain Rules. Students circulated the lobby representing brain injured individuals wearing their picture and selling raffle tickets for great prizes like a 54 inch flat screen T.V. Healthy food and Smart Water was offered as the guests mingled before the concert.
When the house lights went down and the introduction was made for the President of Brain Rehabilitation And Injury Network, I was both stunned and excited to walk on stage and see the crowd. Honestly, all I could do was sigh and say, “You came!” We connected from that moment on throughout the evening as the story of brain injury was told with the tag line, “It can happen to anyone.”
David Klinkenberg lit up the room with his entertaining fiddle playing. His engaging and humorous personality blew fresh, fun air into the auditorium. He is both amazing in his ability and charming in his skillful delivery. The cause of brain injury is sobering but David’s fiddle lifted the atmosphere to bring hope for the future. No one can perform The Devil Went Down to Georgia like Klink! Watch out for this guy. His career is going to rocket.
Two jumbo-tron screens showed a looped PowerPoint pre show presentation with pictures of brain injured individuals and a short description of how they sustained their injury. A fall, a birth injury, auto accident, war wounds and even a mosquito bite highlighted the fact that everyone is vulnerable to suffer a brain injury. One of the pictures was of a beautiful, Afro American woman named Michele who was in a head on car collision.
The jewel of the evening came toward the end of the concert when an awareness video was shown that had been produced specifically for B.R.A.I.N. Various brain injured survivors were interviewed, the stories of famous people like actress Natasha Richardson who died from a brain injury were told. The message was clear…over 100 new brain injuries occur every hour in America! Brain Injuries Can Happen to Anyone! The film ended with the sad fact that little is being done to assist brain injured people. Sue Rueb made an impassioned appeal saying that B.R.A.I.N.’s goals of advancing research, recovery and residential care is ready to step into the void. Our immediate need for funds is to build a long term living community for those adult TBI survivors who long for a place to recover and thrive.
A ‘Back Stage Pass’ was included in the concert program giving everyone an opportunity to get close up and personal with the brain organization. As the audience considered their part in assisting the brain injured, Samm danced onto the stage into the hearts of all in attendance with his music video entitled, We Are All The Same. Samm reminded us that people around the world are connected with one another. His guitar playing, his singing and his dancing were superb! Samm, is an emerging rock star with a powerful message!
The live band led by arranger, producer, and keyboard artist Rich Callaci was music in motion. The band played from their hearts because they were supporting the cause completely. The Carpenter Center is still talking about the fantastic music that was played there on Oct. 1.
Al B. Sure, multi platinum R&B recording star not only gave his time to Brainstorm as he helped me co-host the evening, he introduced all of us to his friend and colleague, Michele Jones, the special assistant to the Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates in Washington D.C. Michele spoke on behalf of the military as a retired officer with 25 years of active service, but she also spoke personally of her own injury that occurred in a head on auto collision. The evening ended on a crescendo when Michele stood before a uniformed picture of her as Command Sergeant Major Ms. Michele Jones and David Klinkenberg and the entire band brought down the house with a proud and celebratory rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.
The audience was left nearly breathless to hear that they had collectively raised over 60 thousand dollars after expenses for the evening. However, more than money was raised. The cause of Brain Rehabilitation And Injury Network was presented in a way that few will ever forget.
We are all the same. Anyone can sustain a brain injury today but with everyone’s help B.R.A.I.N. can give hope and help to help those who are brain injured….Today!