Jam4Dan V knocks it out of the park
So when does something or somebody become an icon? Some might argue Dan Falley has already achieved that status in Topeka. However, given the success of Jam4Dan V, a case might be made this tribute to Dan, played out by Topeka’s finest musicians, has achieved a similar status. It was a weekend of fun, music and friendship, both old and new. Whether it be the youngsters on stage so small they could hardly be seen behind their guitars, the dads in bands with their sons or daughters, the huddled conversations of musicians trading notes with their contemporaries, or the smokin’ riffs cut loose by every band, Jam4Dan V had all the elements to secure its claim as the premier rock event in Topeka. And if that weren’t enough, over $2,500 was raised to support scholarships for deserving guitar and bass students taking lessons in Shawnee County, which brings the total awarded to almost $9,000 since 2009.
For the second year in a row, youth bands headlined the early segments of the show both Saturday and Sunday, and boy, did these kids make their families proud. David Schaffer and Chuck Higgins from Live Music Institute and Chip Janda, an instructor at Steam Music, have taught and inspired a group of young people who will ensure Topeka’s rock scene remains vibrant. All five bands demonstrated a ton of talent, commitment and effort.
Another group of players making their mark on the scene were the “youngsters,” 25 years old or so, who brought both the passion of perfecting their craft in combination with years of great training, both growing up with music as part of their high school backgrounds and as current or former college students majoring in music.
At least four bands were multi-generational with members between 18-25 who had grown up with parents who were musicians and found it easy to take that inspiration and talent to the next level. Though not necessarily having the same training as some of their peers, their vocal and instrumental skills clearly demonstrated they were appreciative of their opportunity to learn from their parents’ love of music and efforts to pass that love to their children.
And, of course, there were the dozens of players on hand who have worked the Topeka and Northeastern Kansas music scene for decades. Whether it was hard-hitting heavy metal, country-rock, 80s covers, blues or just good ol’ rock and roll, these guys and gals brought their “A-game.” Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, the following set had you shaking your head and going, “Damn, those guys were great!”
Not only does the event feature great music, it also showcases a number of very generous Topeka businesses, most notably Joel Edison of J. Edison Custom Guitars. For the fourth year, Joel has donated a beautiful handcrafted guitar to raffle off. Other merchants have generously contributed a number of nice items, including guitars and guitar/amp combo kits, which sold through a silent auction.
Sonny Heller and his staff again provided the sound, which was no small task given the quick turnarounds necessary to get the bands on and off the stage and stay on schedule. Doug Ruth provided videography services, which included providing a feed for a monitor above the stage that allowed every seat in the pub a great view. Carl Schwartz recorded the entire show, and Jeff Carson of Gizmo Pictures shot almost ten hours of footage he will use to document the sights and sounds of the great scene.
Scholarship information will be available in late January. Also, T-shirts will be available for sale soon on the Web site with all proceeds going to bump up the scholarship money available.
Jam4Dan is held the Martin Luther King weekend. Dates for Jam4Dan6 are January 19 and 20, 2013.
The Jam4Dan trustees are Danl Blackwood, Mike Fox, Joel Edison, and Tom Krebs.