Rock musician Jim Peterik, the Berwyn native who founded the band Survivor and co-founded The Ides of March, broke out his guitar over the weekend to lift the spirits of BEDS Plus Care clients staying at a consolidated shelter site.
BEDS clients, several of whom recalled seeing him in concert back in the day, were treated to an impromptu show in the parking lot, a news release from the La Grange organization stated.
"This song pretty much sums the way I feel about you here today – enjoying the music and sunshine, we are caught up in you," Peterik stated in the release.
The April 11 parking lot performance was organized by BEDS Plus volunteer Beth Myburgh, who asked Peterik to join a small group of volunteers at the consolidated shelter location.
"He's just all about supporting the homeless community and the disadvantaged. He's a really nice guy," Myburgh stated in the release.
Myburgh wanted to show clients they are in the thoughts of BEDS Plus volunteers during the COVID-19 crisis. She and her husband, Francois Myburgh, brought a boom box and played music while volunteers sang along from a distance and danced outside in the sunshine.
"There are so many online, drive-by parties for kids' birthdays and engagements and other things and I thought, you know, these people are on indefinite 24/7 lockdown and they never get to leave their space either, so let's do something for them," she said. "It's just nice for them to get some fresh air and do something different."
As happy as clients were to see volunteers, the star of the parking lot gathering was Peterik. He brought a message of hope to BEDS clients who were all smiles at the intimate parking lot concert.
"I know everybody needs a little of this," he said. "Remember in this COVID atmosphere, you gotta have faith. You gotta have the eye of the tiger."
Several clients sang along with Peterik, a Grammy-winning artist who co-wrote "The Eye of the Tiger" for the movie "Rocky III," and has written songs for bands including 38 Special and The Beach Boys. While Peterik sang and played guitar, BEDS clients clapped, cheered, whistled and danced along. For BEDS clients, it was a chance to get caught up in the music and a welcome respite from the uncertainty the pandemic has caused.
Clients were grateful for Peterik's appearance and shouted thanks after the performance. Peterik, though, was more than happy to have done his part to lift their spirits.
"You guys rock, man," he said. "Stay safe, keep rocking and keep the faith."
Information about the BEDS Plus Care response to COVID-19 is on its website at www.beds-plus.org.