By Angela Atkinson
Manchester native and country crossover artist Melissa Bauer says she wants to give back to the community that raised her and to the members of the armed forces who protect this country.
That's why she and her band, who now live and record in Nashville, TN, will perform locally in two special benefit concerts on January 13 and 14. They'll also hold silent auctions on each night. The concerts and auctions will benefit wounded military members and their families who are served by the St. Louis Fisher House.
“The band and I are thrilled to be partnering with The Fisher House,” Bauer said. “It’s a wonderful charity, and I am so happy to partner with them for such a worthwhile cause that does so much for this country’s veterans and their families.”
In honor of her friends and family members who have served in the military, Bauer said she and the band are dubbing their special benefit concerts The Home is Where the Healing Begins Tour.
The Cause: The St. Louis Fisher House
The band will donate all proceeds from the tour and silent auctions to the St. Louis Fisher House, a charity that provides a “home away from home” for the families of U.S. military men and women. Families are invited to stay at the Fisher House free of charge when their loved ones are receiving inpatient care at the St. Louis VA Medical Center or other nearby local hospitals.
“Since our opening day, we have had the opportunity to help several hundreds of families be by the bedside of their loved ones during a time of need,” said St. Louis Fisher House Manager Rachael Fernandez. “We guesstimate that in the first decade of opening, this house will offer families over 73,000 nights of free lodging.”
The Fisher House is a 16,000 square foot home featuring 20 bedroom suites and a common kitchen, living room, dining room, family area, laundry room and a deck that overlooks the Mississippi River.
“Each suite comes with one or two beds, private bathroom, private telephone line, and a TV with a DVD and VCR player,” Fernandez said. “We opened our doors to our first guest on July 28, 2010 and held our grand opening on Sept. 25, 2010.”
She added that the Fisher House depends heavily on volunteers and donations to provide its much-needed services for veterans and their families.
The Details: The Home is Where the Healing Begins Tour
On January 13, the tour will start in Collinsville, IL at the American Legion Post 365, located at 1022 Vandalia St. Doors open at 6:30 pm, and there will be a silent auction and cocktail hour until the concert begins at 8:00. Billy Berry will open for the Melissa Bauer Band, which will play until 11:00 pm.
On January 14, the tour will conclude at the Old Rock House in downtown St. Louis. The silent auction and cocktail hour will begin at 7:00 pm, followed by an opening act from Nicole Dawn. The Melissa Bauer Band will play until 11:00 pm.
“I hope everyone will come out to not only support the band and I, but to also show love for this very worthwhile cause,” Bauer said. “We couldn’t do it without our fans.”
Tickets for both events can be purchased through MetroTix at http://metrotix.com.
How You Can Help: The Silent Auctions
Prior to the start of each concert, the band will hold a silent auction, the proceeds of which will be donated to the Fisher House. Band members and event organizers are seeking donations of products or services for the silent auctions, and they hope you can help.
“It is through donations and benefits such as these that we are able to continue to provide a beautiful and comfortable ‘home away from home’ for these families,’ Fernandez said.
The silent auctions are being coordinated by Bauer’s lifelong friend and Ballwin resident Piperlynn Momeny.
“I think it’s amazing that Melissa would put this together for people who are under-appreciated and who do so much for us as a country,” Momeny said. “But I am afraid we won’t have much to sell at the silent auctions because I have sent many emails and snail mails, and no one is responding to me.”
Momeny said she has sent donation requests to more than 50 area businesses, but none have acknowledged them.
“I guess it’s a hard time for them, especially with all the holiday shopping,” Momeny added. “They must be really busy at this time of the year.”
If you’d like to make a donation of your services or goods to benefit the Fisher House, you can reach Momeny by phone at 636-236-4340 or email her at Piperlynn17@gmail.com to make arrangements.
Momeny said that anyone who donates goods, services or money to the cause will be honored with a listing in the event’s program and will be mentioned in any news coverage the event receives.
Meet the Artist: About Melissa Bauer
Melissa Bauer is following her dream on the path to stardom. She has worked as a professional musical theater actress, performing in such venues as the St. Louis Muny and the Fox Theater. She attended Parkway South High School and later graduated from the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston.
After Berklee, Bauer moved to Nashville and launched her career with a three-year stint as a singing coyote with the world-famous Coyote Ugly Saloon.
These days, she’s the lead singer of the Melissa Bauer Band. The band also features Zach Bevill on acoustic guitar and vocals, Gary Jannaman on electric guitar, Anthonny Schumann on percussion and Dear Marold on bass and vocals.
“We have many influences and bands that we cover, anything ranging from Billy Joel, Journey and AC/DC, to much more traditional country like Bonnie Raitt and Reba McEntire,” Bauer said. “We put on a very fast-paced show that keeps people dancing all night long.”
Chad Brown of the American Society for Composers, Authors and Publishers, where Bauer worked for a brief time, called her “a passionate songwriter whose lyrics are only surpassed by her stage presence.”
Bauer released her debut album, Back Here Under the Stars, in August 2011.
"Holidays, birthdays & anniversaries have been celebrated with tears and smiles with people who truly understand what the other person is experiencing."
- Kamryn Jaroszewski