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Desert Jam Session II; all is “Well in the Desert”

Desert Jam Session II; all is “Well in the Desert”

Desert Jam Session II; all is “well in the desert.”

Darci Daniels

Darci Daniels

by Lisa Alvarez Johnson

Driving through our beautiful Coachella Valley, it’s hard not to notice the many homeless people sitting on sidewalks, in front of stores, in the parks and pretty much everywhere you go. Monday evening’s Desert Jam Session II, a benefit for Well in the Desert, put a spotlight on this issue and many showed up to support this event at The Purple Room in Palm Springs. Well in the Desert provides daily, hot nutritious meals, weekly food distribution, emergency food assistance, as well as access to community services to those in our community affected by poverty.

The brain child and dream of Palm Spring’s very own Darci Daniels, Dessert Jam Session II was a fundraising event that brought out some of the best musical talent we have here in the valley. It was like taking a step back into time where the likes of Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra used to sing in local clubs. All of the acts were backed up by The Jackson Garret Band, who set a phenomenal jazz tone reminiscent of the good old days when life was a little less complicated than it is now. The performers included some musical greats; Michael Bolivar, Grammy winner Gary Bias and local, international recording artist Trini Lopez. Each entertainer topped the other with superb balance and quality. Darci Daniels sang a rendition of “Sweet Love” to rival to original version sung by Anita Baker. Daniels’ crisp and clean voice, hit the high and low notes with perfect precision. New to the desert, but not to music, David Carradine’s daughter Calista Carradine wowed the audience with the song “Cry.” She is one to look out for in the Coachella Valley music scene. Her talent is fierce and polished; I guarantee she’s going places with that voice.

Calista Carradine at Desert Jam Sesssion II benefitting Well in the Desert

Calista Carradine at Desert Jam Sesssion II benefitting Well in the Desert

Other favorites were Mike Costly and of course Trini Lopez. These gentlemen were the last two musical acts of the evening. They helped end the night on a very high note. Mike Costly has been singing at clubs in the valley for many years. His performance at Dessert Jam Session II was his reentry to the local music scene as he has not been heard in a very long time. He sang Frank Sinatra’s “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” so well I almost thought that just maybe if I closed my eyes, I would be transported to that little girl listening to the greats on her mono stereo. Trini Lopez brought me back a little further. Having loved him in the days of that little girl, I wasn’t disappointed some 40 plus years later. Trini Lopez and Darci Daniels brought the whole show and the audience together by singing the Christmas carol, “Felice Navidad.” It was a uplifting to see and hear everyone sing along to that song!

Master of Ceremonies, local KESQ channel 2 weatherman Patrick Evans, helped the evening along with introducing the next acts and heading the auctions that were placed in between the music. One of the most innovative and collected fine artists of our time, Eric Waugh, did two live paintings during the show. Each painting was auctioned to the highest bidder. Eric Waugh has raised over one million dollars for numerous charities. Waugh’s pop fusion style of art is fun and sophisticated. He brings his art live and on stage for fundraising events. The paintings were works of art and priceless for those who love his style.

The evening was a huge success. There was a lot of donations to Well in the Desert that will keep them running full speed. Arlene Rosenthal, president of the board of directors of the “Well” for the past 17 years and her cast of volunteers helped put together this awesome venue. She steps in when needed to make sure everything happens but says, “All of the fundraising events that benefit the Well in the Desert are the compilation of many selfless volunteers who donate their time and energy to help those in need.” She too was mesmerized by the performers and said, “There was a feeling of togetherness that evening that joined the wealthy and people from all walks of life.”

Live painting by Eric Waugh

Live painting by Eric Waugh

A CD was produced for this event featuring some of the night’s talent and other greats like Jack Jones. You can visit their website at www.wellinthedesert.org for information on future events and if you want to purchase the CD Desert Jam Session II, you can call them at (760) 329-8577. There will be a link on the webpage soon where you can also buy this collection of superior talent.

Taking care of our own is the best quality a community can have. Well in the Desert does that with the poor, disabled, homeless and working poor in mind.

A Well in the Desert has always been a welcome spot for weary desert travelers. This Well in the Desert does very much the same thing, but provides much more. Please join in the spirit of giving this holiday season and when thinking of which charity you want to put on your list, put this organization as one worthy of your hard earned money.

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