The musicians that create the magic!

In 1995, Washtenaw County’s law enforcement agencies were preparing host our first National Night Out event which was event designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness. The event provided information from non-profits, emergency services, local schools, and more.

As we were planning for the event there was discussion about entertainment and the Detroit Blue Pigs, a group of Detroit Police officers that performed at events throughout the city of Detroit.  After careful thought I volunteer to  put our own local group of musicians together to perform with me for the event.

The first version of the group had personnel from the Michigan State Police, Washtenaw County Sheriffs Dept., Ann Arbor and me from Pittsfield Twp. D.P.S. We were able to put a five piece group together to perform with Rich Coleman  lead vocals/drums.

The success of the performance was great and the invitations to perform at other community events, schools, and DARE/GREAT graduations really took off.

After the first year I began to evaluate the level of musicianship and the direction I wanted to take this musical endeavor in. I knew that we wanted to keep it separate from our roles with the local law enforcement agencies and performing on our own time and as schedules permitted for evening/weekend events was a must.

By the second year of the effort I began to write music that fit the theme of our performances and who we were performing for.   At this time we had an explosion of gang activity in our community as others around the country.  I knew that we had an opportunity to reach the students when doing peformances in the schools and cover songs didn’t provide the message needed.

The first song written was “Stop the Violence; Save our sons and daughters today” a driving track with a top forty grove with an influene of EWF with the vocals in the recording session. From there came, “Don’t Drop Out of  School”, “AM-FM Same Song”, and the Billboard runner up rap song “Youth to Youth I’m Drug Free”. The other songs “Down at the Corner”, Tribute to the Fab-Five” ( tribute to the U of M  basketball team) and two songs by guitartist Kumura Wilson, “Hang Time” and ” Take It Easy”, and “Martin” written by the late Dr. Morris Lawerence, of W.C.C. a great jazz musician and teacher. This was his last recording before  his passing *When I perform this song I use the orgininal tracks in Dr. Morris L. memory. This was ten  tracks for the first project for the group and “Let’s Give them HOPE” , was released in 1998/99.

The band evolved with inviting musicians to perform the recorded tracks with the professional level needed but also believed in the concept. Keyboardist/Drummer Steve Trigg, Mike Lewis, keyboards, Kumura Wilson guitar, Clarence “Bonnie Dottery” bass guitar/drums, and Angel Dottery on Vocals. This core group brought the tracks to life! We had history and family, performing together in other bands and believed in me and wanted to be part of a musical mission of hope and inspiration.

There were other musicians that made the musical adventure important during the early years, Kevin H. on bass, Martin S., Keyboards, Donna Johnson, vocals/guitar, Val Cooper, Keyboard, Al Veal , bass guitar, Mike S. drums

The second recording “We are Community: America Stand for What is Right” was inspired by our community coming together to challenge the impact of a hate group coming to our community. While sitting with my children the hook of the song “we are community” began to roll along with a catchy hook and within an hour the song was written with Britney and Al’s help. I will be forever grateful to them for their inocents in just wanting to understand why this group was coming to our community.  The first performance was with a percussion section singing at a rally of over 1,0o0, in a sing along format.

Three weeks later the tracks were completed and three nights of recording with 81 voices the track was completed with video. The second version was dedicated to the Sept. 11th, relief efforts and the memory of the fallen police, fire fighters, and rescue workers.  The tracks was posted on site (

I am especially proud to have all the proceeds go to the New York Fighters/Police/Port Authority fund to help the families left behind. We’ve also help Camp Comfort Zone with a donation which has been doing grief counseling for the children and families.

We have a music video of the making of the song and touring with the 9/11 Quilt that came to Michigan. What a moving experience with seeing the panels of names of people that we had heard from families who acknowledged they enjoyed the song and the message coming from someone who works in Public Safety.

On the 10th anniversay I hope to be in New York to be part of the celebration of life.

If you get a chance check out the song and please don’t focus on me as the writer of the song , but the emergency service personnel who put their lives on the line everyday knowing that they may not make it back home.

God Bless those that gave their lives!