On a pleasant Monday evening, more than a dozen musicians from around Siouxland gathered on The Chesterfield stage. Singers confidently approached their microphones, belting out the lyrics to Creedence Clearwater Revival’s "Proud Mary."
Big wheel keep on turnin’
Proud Mary keep on burnin’
Rollin’, rollin’, rollin’ on the river
Men with guitars plucked away on either side of the stage. A woman, positioned near the corner of stage left, tapped a tambourine on the palm of her hand to the beat of the song, swinging her hips as she played. There was even a brass section of guys wearing ball caps and collared shirts sitting in plain black chairs, waiting for their cue to play.
I sat down with siblings Blake and Kelsey Meacham near the entrance of the Fourth Street bar and music venue while the large band -- which is billing itself as Sioux City’s All Stars -- practiced at the opposite end. It was loud, and there was no way to escape it. Blake and Kelsey are to perform alongside the All Stars on Sunday (July 31) at The Chesterfield as part of a special benefit show for their father, Tim Meacham.
Over that past 11 years or so, the Meacham family has been met with a string of bad luck with Tim having to make numerous trips to the hospital. The former play-by-play sports broadcaster was diagnosed with kidney cancer, suffered five heart attacks, broke his leg, spent weeks in ICU and had two hip replacements, a massive hernia repair, gastric sleeve surgery, a brain bleed and went through all kinds of physical therapy.
“It’s one thing after the other,” said Kelsey.
As such, the medical bills have been piling up for the Meacham family. When Amy Ellsworth caught word of Tim’s struggles, she decided to organize a benefit show. She called some friends and fellow musicians who might know the Meachams and asked if they’d want to take part in a small concert benefiting the family. Those who said yes formed Sioux City’s All Stars.
“We wanted to do something for them,” said Ellsworth, a singer in the group. “Even if they could make one medical bill payment or a credit card payment for the gas they use, that would help.”
The event, which takes place at 2 p.m. Sunday (July 31) at The Chesterfield, will kick off with karaoke. In addition to a live music show, the benefit will allow guests to take part in raffles and a silent auction to earn gift cards, rock ’n’ roll memorabilia and other packages. Food and drink will also be available.
Kelsey said seeing the musicians come together to help her father and family is “an honor” and “very humbling.” Her brother Blake said, “It really shows the goodness people have. Sometimes you get cynical and think people only care about what they got going on in their lives. These people were like, ‘No, we want to do this for your family’.”
Kelsey is enthusiastic about the event.
“I’m looking forward to seeing the look on my dad’s face when he sees the people that love him and care for him show up, and when he sees us sing,” said Kelsey, pointing out that she and her brother will be singing together for a few songs. One will be “Let It Be” by the Beatles, one of Tim’s favorite bands.
“We’ve been humbled and overwhelmed by the community support and by these amazing people that know our family,” said Kelsey. “We’ve been so blessed by their support and we are so grateful.”