February 19, 2012
By JEANNE TOWAR
Kevin Rushton always wanted to perform with a band, even though he did not know how to play an instrument.
Four years ago on the spur of the moment, the former White House staffer and now software project manager for a company in Troy, bid on a Fender Stratocaster guitar on EBay and won.
“It was frustrating but exciting to have the guitar, but I had nowhere to go with it,” Rushton said.
Then his sister emailed him a link to the Detroit School of Rock and Pop Music, newly opened in a former bike shop on Washington Avenue in Royal Oak.
“I called them the next day,” Rushton said.
Jason Gittinger, the school’s owner and executive producer, said, “He was one of our first adult students … He kept coming back and that meant a lot to me.”
“When you don’t have a time limit on life, you plan that you will eventually get to the music you want to play,” Rushton said.
But in 2010, he was diagnosed with a rare cancer and the prognosis is not good.
“I realized the doctors were telling Kevin there might be a time limit,” Gittinger said. “So, as a musical friend, I decided to create an opportunity for Kevin to play all the music he’s ever had on his bucket list with one concert — the Bucket List Show.”
Rushton’s wife Janice will play violin in the concert, son Edmund, 14, will be on drums, and stepson Stephen Acosta, a senior at Michigan State University, will play saxophone. And, of course, Rushton will be there singing and playing guitar with “his” band, “Happy Hour.” The school’s faculty band and super band will also perform.
“The Bucket List Show,” from 7-10 p.m. today will benefit the Live the Music — Because Music is for Life Foundation, whose purpose, according to Gittinger, is to provide instruments, equipment and scholarships to help people who can’t afford it and “live a life with music.” Gittinger said Rushton was inspiration for getting the Foundation off the ground.
Tickets to the show at The Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Avenue in Ferndale, are $25 at the door. Because adult beverages will be for sale, attendees must be 18 or older. Gittinger is planning this concert to be the first of many to benefit the foundation.
Rushton, who is optimistic about performing in more concerts, said: “I thought it would be tragic if I experienced music just for me. None of us know how long we have, so if I can take music and help others experience it, I will have done a good thing.”
“It’s not that we’re sad for Kevin,” Gittinger said. “It’s that we’re happy we can celebrate life with him in this way. Him doing this will enable more people who have the dream, but not the means.”