I wholeheartedly agree with Ellis Kell regarding the positive aspects of the River Music Experience (RME). (See "In Support of RME," River Cities' Reader Issue 572, March 15-21, 2006.)
Last year you kindly published my letter asking the RME not to let the music die. Well, with Lon Bozarth and Ellis Kell at the helm, they've done just what I've hoped for and more.
As an RN who hopes one day to pursue and earn a degree in music therapy, I believe music is a healing force. I sometimes bang out five- or six-chord '50s songs for my much-loved nursing-home residents. Eighty-five-year-old ladies get up and start twisting the night away! The music does more for their circulation, and indeed their souls, than any pill I might administer.
It's like that at RME. On the few occasions I've visited, the place was alive with music. People of all ages, colors, nationalities, and persuasions supported and helped one another to grow, via the music, in a clean, positive atmosphere.
No hundred-thousand-seat arena-rock group has ever moved me more than the musicians at Mojo's. On one night, a 12-year-old girl played Pink Floyd, a 92-year-old man picked out old country and western, and a heavily tattooed street poet recited powerful, painful prose about sin and redemption.
Another example of RME's agenda affects me personally: the current Weekend Warrior program they share with West Music. I've enrolled, and for the next six weeks, I'll be realizing a dream I've deferred for 40 years: I'll be playing music, "live," with other people.
Still young at heart, I'd like to move to an urban area with a burgeoning music scene. My main reason to choose Davenport would be the RME and its related programs and counterparts.
As Mac Davis wrote, I believe in music - and so do the folks at RME. I applaud their efforts, and as Ellis Kell did, I heartily encourage others to do so.
Coal Valley, Illinois
Davenport Cuts Are Shortsighted
The cuts to Davenport's Neighborhood Enhancement and Housing Inspection departments could not be more shortsighted. After working with housing problems and central-city residents in the 1980s, I headed a task force on abandoned housing in 1988-9 that helped to strengthen and promote more effective responses to housing problems. The more recent Task Force has been addressing the very same problems. Deteriorating and investment properties that are not adequately maintained have many negative consequences for the community - it hurts the entire city as we attempt to draw new employers, it victimizes the neighborhoods in which these properties are located, and tenants are adversely affected by poor housing conditions. The elimination of the very programs that are intended to stem the deterioration that results defies logic. Do we not all appreciate that deteriorating housing stock contributes directly to crime? You are indeed robbing Peter to pay Paul. It's time for our leadership and the citizenry to realize that we need to be able to raise adequate revenues to have effective community services, period.