Unity Concert and Free Health Fair to Promote Wellness in Rhode Island
by Wendy Lewis
Music enriches our lives, lifts our spirits and feeds our souls. But the artists who create the music we love often face unhealthy life journeys and special health challenges. Some of musical history’s most legendary artists died too young from drug use or years of unhealthy habits, and other professional musicians often face hearing loss, repetitive stress injuries and limited access to health care. Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame Advisory Board member and inductee Don Culp and other Rhode Island musicians are working to change that.
Culp, a lifelong martial artist and musician, believes health and music are intrinsically linked. “So many people in my life told me I’d have to choose either one, but the merging of the two seemed natural for me since they both involve rhythm and movement.”
Culp became active in music and martial arts in his teens and has since built careers as both an accomplished drummer/percussionist and martial arts instructor. Culp has toured the country as a percussionist, plays and records with his band, Longshot Voodoo, and is an active member of the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame. Since 2011, he has also run his own martial arts dojo, Don Culp’s Karate Studio and Whole Arts Training Center, in North Kingstown, where he teaches Shizen-Do Karate, an art he created that combines the best aspects of several styles with the philosophies of Zen.
Several years ago, Culp and Co-Chair Russell Gusetti banded together to create Tune In & Tune Up, a health initiative for Rhode Island musicians and industry professionals. On June 11, the now-full committee, in partnership with The Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame, will present Feeling Alright: A Health Fair and Unity Concert at the Hall of Fame Museum and Met Café in Pawtucket.
The Health Fair, from 1 to 4 p.m., is free to the public and will feature a wide variety of traditional and holistic health exhibits, presentations and question-and-answer sessions with doctors, holistic providers, bodyworkers and wellness practitioners. “I’m really thrilled that we’re connecting the scientific and holistic communities because sometimes there’s a little bit of a gap between those two,” says Culp. “We’re going to have information about diet, hydration, exercise, and all the different aspects of health we can possibly cover.” There will be many free giveaways and the first 250 attendees will also receive a free gift bag.
A concert will follow from 4 to 9 p.m., featuring the musical artistry of more than 20 performers, with all musicians volunteering their time and talents. The Rock’n Docs, a band comprised entirely of Rhode Island physicians, will open the show, followed by the funk and soul of Take It to The Bridge, with headline acts by the Tune In & Tune Up All-Star Band featuring The Fabulous Tunettes and The In Tune Horns. For the finale, all the musicians will join together to play the Joe Cocker classic “Feelin’ Alright.” Tickets to the concert are $20. Both the health fair and concert are family-friendly.
The Tune In & Tune Up initiative and Feeling Alright health fair and concert were born several years ago at a Hall of Fame meeting when Culp and his fellow musicians began reminiscing about their many friends who had passed away due to poor health. “Musicians think they’re bulletproof,” he says. “Over the years, I’ve noticed that many of us just don’t have the best health habits. We’re on the road, we have lots of late nights and don’t always make the best decisions. If we have a sore throat or aren’t feeling well, we tend to think it’s cool to just push through. I knew one guy who hadn’t been to the doctor in nine years.
“We have a big problem in our society with heart disease, obesity, insomnia, diabetes and depression,” Culp says. “What we’re doing is not working. We need to get back to basics and simplify our lives. It’s not natural for people to be under this amount of stress. People are using electronics more, their lives are fast-paced, and they’re losing patience and consciousness of self. The human body is incredibly resilient but it can only take so much. We’re too busy and we suffer for it.”
The Feeling Alright Health Fair, Culp says, is an opportunity to not only educate musicians and the general public, but to connect the communities. “We’re all in this together. We’re all trying to be more health conscious and more spiritually conscious.”
The Feeling Alright Health Fair and Concert will be held at the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame, 999 Main St., Pawtucket. The fair is free. Tickets for the All Star Concert are $20 at TheMetRI.com/tickets or Empire Guitars, 1271 N. Main Street, Providence.