For Don Dickerson, it’s all about the kids. For most of his life, he has been driven to try to help kids build better lives.
“The world can be a mixed-up place at times, and if we are going to improve things, we have to start with kids," Don says.
From Don’s compassion and dedication to help kids came the genesis of Garage Band Revival.
Like many teenagers of his era, Don formed a band with some high school friends. The band used to practice in various locations, including garages. After several years of playing local dance gigs, the band eventually broke up as its members moved on to college and other pursuits. Don eventually married and moved to Hendersonville, where he had a successful insurance and real estate business.
In 1990, Don received an invitation to perform at his high school reunion in Cairo, Illinois. As a result, he hastily reformed his old band in time to play a very successful show. Following the reunion, Don and his band were invited to perform at several Cairo-area benefits that drew large crowds and raised thousands of dollars.
After this success, Don realized that his band was capable of doing much more than just playing music. Instead of a band, he had created a vehicle whereby he could raise money to help charitable causes, particularly those benefiting children.
Eventually, he decided it was time to form another band that could do the same things back in Hendersonville. Accordingly, in 2006, Don gathered together a diverse group of musicians and singers to form a new band. He named the group Garage Band Revival out of homage to his early musical roots.
Garage Band Revival’s repertoire is all about oldies rock 'n' roll and rhythm and blues, with most of the selections arranged to support the group’s larger-than-life stage presence. All songs feature a fun blend of multiple vocalists coupled with a powerful brass section.
“Our audiences know the words to our songs, and they dance and sing along with us,” Don says. “We are a party on the stage.”
Over the years, Garage Band Revival has featured almost 40 different players from all walks of life. Many current and former players came from area churches. Today’s incarnation of the 14-member, all-volunteer group includes teachers, realtors, a physician and a banker—all of whom share Don’s passion for giving back to kids through music.
“Whenever I am interviewing a potential new band member, I always stress to them that we are not in the music business. We are in the business of helping people, particularly kids,” Don says.
Today, Garage Band Revival is still staying true to its mission of having fun and raising funds for kids, playing for such organizations as Sumner County CASA, United Way of Sumner County, the Arthritis Foundation and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. In recent years, the band has also begun performing for private events such as birthdays and anniversaries.
Since its inception, Garage Band Revival has helped raise more than $2 million for various charities, most of which benefit local children. Through a recent affiliation with the Cedarstone Arts Foundation, Don hopes to reach additional children through their combined fundraising efforts.
“Every time you help a child, you make a real difference. Better lives for kids makes a better world for everyone,” he says.
Garage Band Revival is already booking events for 2019. For additional information or to book a fundraiser, call Don at 615.210.8942, email him at DLDSax@comcast.net or find him on Facebook at Facebook.com/helpkidswithGBR.