You hear every day what a violent city Memphis is, how high the crime rate is. You hear about the racial tension and now you can add political tension to the mix. While all that may be true, that’s not all there is to Memphis.
My last article was about the Hewlett family who lost their home and vehicle to a devastating fire on Valentine’s Day and their thirteenth wedding anniversary. Yesterday was the day for the fundraiser to help the family recover from the fire called “Out of the Ashes” at Neil’s Music Room.
It was a day of great music, compassion and appreciation. Much has been written about Memphis music, the talent we have here is unmatched by any other city. Today the focus is on the compassion of the Memphis music community. Nine of Memphis’ finest bands donated their time and talents to help a good family in need. It wasn’t just the music community though, it was the community in general, this is Memphis too.
Racial tension is higher now than it has been in years but you couldn’t tell that yesterday at Neil’s Music Room. The audience was racially mixed with nothing but harmony all day long. The Hewlett’s are a mixed couple, the two families love and respect each other.
Brandy Spurlock-Hewlett said, “It would have been okay with us if we didn’t raise a dime, we just wanted to celebrate our new home with our friends, like a backyard cookout.” She got her wish, her youngest daughter is nine years old and danced to every band that played. She wanted to dance on stage when Jeffrey and the Pacemakers were wrapping up the show. When asked about that Jeff Golightly got a big grin on his face as he said, “I can’t say no to that.”
The Hewlett children wanted to do their part to in some way thank everyone for coming to ‘their’ party. They made thank you cards that were placed around on tables. The children were concerned about the bands playing for free so they made special ones for each of the bands. Jack Rowell, who was holding the card for his band The Royal Blues Band said, “This is what makes it all worthwhile.” Jeff Golightly of Jeffrey and the Pacemakers echoed that thought when he said, “The note we got from the kids made my night.”
Hopefully, now the darkest day of the Hewlett family’s life will be replaced by this day of hope and inspiration. The amount raised was right at $4,000 which won’t make the family rich but they are, what makes them rich is the turnout of their family and friends coming together to support them in their time of need. The money raised will give them a head start in getting their life back to together.
Although it wasn’t said on February 14th, now it can be, happy 13th anniversary to Dennis and Brandy Hewlett.
The bands playing at yesterday’s event were Paige and Case, Midnight Train from Memphis, Ronnie Caldwell and JoJo Jeffries, Grand Theft Audio, Jack Rowell, Jr and the Royal Blues Band, Rick Camp and the Suburban Truck Monkeys, Memphis Funk and Horns, Memphis All Stars and Jeffery and Pacemakers.
Brandy Hewlett summed up the day perfectly “Today was beautiful, people of so many different ages, race and background coming together with a common goal.”