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Musicians & Charity

By Eddie Tuduri on Jul 25, 2015 at 12:00 AM in Trap Music
A word about Musicians and Charity ....
Shortly after my return from Canada to Los Angeles in 1985, I founded a new charity called “Musicians for Unicef”

I was once again living in Sherman Oaks, in the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles. After getting settled I began playing around town and reacquainting with friends and businesses. “Josephina’s” was a very cool hang on Ventura Boulevard and the best place to play in town. Mouse Johnson, an incredible drummer who had played with all sorts of folks over the years including Aretha Franklin, Lou Reed, Kiki Dee, Elton John and Chuck Berry was the first musician to build that club and fill it with the best talent in Los Angeles. Mouse was the most likeable person in the world and his friends showed up to support him in carloads. Lots of actors, producers and writers, extraordinary vocalists and musicians, a veritable who’s who in the entertainment industry made this a very popular place to be seen and heard!

On any given night you might see Stevie Wonder and Al Jarreau or Paul Butterfield and Steven Stills most times sitting in with the local groups. Glen Fry was a regular between Eagles tours and the guys from the band “Chicago” and “Tower of Power” would frequent the restaurant too.
It was a great place to network and to find work. As the bands that played there were loaded with talent, lots of touring acts would more or less harvest the players. One night I recall loosing our horn section to Rod Stewart, imagine that, and they were making 40 bucks a night at the time!

I was lucky enough to play there at least three nights a week with different groups throughout the club’s tenure. It was a perfect venue for “Musicians for Unicef” Everybody was there, talent, celebrities, publicity and marketing opportunities and the club was more than willing to be part of it.

I established a rapport with the Unicef office in Los Angeles and we coordinated the first “Super Sunday” It happened to be Unicef’s 40th Anniversary, Sunday December 7th 1986
It was only $10.00 to get in and Josephina’s served a buffet.
Our special guests included Master of Ceremonies, Brion James with Paul Butterfield, Randy Meisner from the Eagles and Preston Smith. We had a 19 piece band that night with some of the best musicians in town. We sold out at 150 tickets and celebrated the first of 15 benefit concerts over the next 7 years.

Super Sunday 2 happened on March 29, 1987 and a surprise appearance by Bruce Willis and Glen Frey with the band “The Heaters” kicked our visibility into high gear. It soon became the cool charity to support in town. By 1998 we had moved the venue to a place called Pelican’s Retreat in Calabasas where our popularity continued to grow adding Mick Fleetwood, Rick Vito and Billy Burnette, REO Speedwagon, Mark Campel, Greg X Smith and John Barry from Jack Mac and the Heart Attack, Scotty Page from Pink Floyd, Jimmy Z from the Eurythmics and many more. We had as many as 60 musicians performing in our shows at Pelican’s. Throughout it all Marty Fera, Joe Lala and I held the drummers post inside while Tony Braunagle and Chet McCracken held the outside stage together, always two bands playing, one stopped and the other began, continuous music.

We did a 16 hour extravaganza at The Palomino in North Hollywood where “Little Feat” Booker T, Kris Kristofferson, Robby Krieger from “The Doors” Dwight Yoakam, and a cast of 40 more musicians played all day and into the night. I actually ended up in the hospital that night with bleeding ulcers. Marty Fera looked across at me and thought I died sitting up, right there on my drum throne …..!

We all worked very hard to make these concerts happen, Lorie Tedds was my assistant and we had as many as 30 volunteers on board for every show. No one took a dime in seven years, 15 benefit concerts. All in all more than 300 musicians participated in this effort over the years; it would be impossible to mention everyone. Suffice to know that we made a significant difference and Unicef was grateful.

These lessons would figure into the success of The Rhythmic Arts Project years later as music and musicians are the backbone of our organization. Lots of the same people are still with us today!

In a world full of charities good and bad, musicians have played a major roll in changing the world time and time again. It is an honor that so many players trust and continue to help us all these years later.
*Over the years I enlisted players to help with a number of charities I’ve been involved with and I always found musicians to be kind, generous and willing to help. In some cases my friends had not participated in charity events prior to my asking. This is the most rewarding thing about creating or contributing to a worthwhile cause, to experience the feeling that comes with such an accomplishment. It isn’t about pride or ego, it’s not like receiving a gold or platinum record or any sort of personal reward, it being a part of something much bigger that makes a difference. Giving in the truest sense is when you give and the recipient has no idea where it came from. In the case of Unicef, by comparison financially, our support was not tremendous yet at 25 cents a day to provide a rehydration packet that would save a child’s life, every penny counts.
More importantly to me, the fact that all the folks who played their hearts out and worked tirelessly over the years went on to commit and contribute to untold number of charities and worthwhile causes.

This was the icing on the cake for me.
Eddie Tuduri's photo.

Testimonials

The Rhythmic Arts Project has enriched the lives of my student’s. The level of student engagement has greatly increased and they are very focused on their drumming. The self-regulation component of TRAP is a skill my students will benefit from throughout their lives. Starting and stopping on cue and eyes focusing on the leader as well as low, just right and high body levels are strategies that are showing improvement with our drumming sessions. My students are receiving the needed extra sensory input from the extra auditory and physical sensations of their music. With the TRAP Program you can teach students most skills from developing learning to learn skills to equations. My students especially enjoy the challenges of patterns, signing colors, learning phone numbers and addresses. The greatest effect of this program is the excitement and elation my students feel before, during, and after their Rhythmic Arts lesson. The source of this joy can be accredited to multiple aspects of the Rhythmic Arts Project including its environment of inclusion and celebration, along with Eddie and his easy going positive spirit. The TRAP program fosters an environment that allows each of my students to express themselves with their own individual style of percussion. This in turn permits each student to feel like a “star” during drumming and dance solos that are immediately followed by peer praise. Denise Pannell, MS Triton Academy
Denise Pannell
Ventura County Board of Education

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