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Lodi youth rise to raise money for victims of Katrina

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Posted: Monday, February 27, 2006 10:00 pm

God bless America! This past Sunday night I had the honor of attending the Jacob Inman production of "Fat Sunday," a concert featuring local youth to benefit those who were victimized during 2005's horrific hurricanes.

It was almost eerie and ironic how weather became fierce just hours before the event, but Lodians showed no fear, selling out Kirst Hall at Hutchins Street Square, with profit going to aid the American Red Cross hurricane relief.

Wade Heath

Among the sell-out crowd were such big names as City Attorney Stephen Schwabauer, Pastor William Crabtree, and Lodi Theatre for Youth Director Rexford Reynolds.

But the real talent was on the stage, as the sell-out crowd was captivated by the voices of six young people.

Jacob Inman, Sean Gabel, Megan O'Dell, Shannon McElligott, Adrienne Reynolds, and Brittany Strong showed just why the youth of Lodi are, as Napoleon Dynamite would say, flippin' sweet.

Alongside musical master Robert Tan, and special guest saxophone player, Wade Inman, the house was not just rocked, it was rocked hard.

With classics, duets and southern soul, the team pulled off an amazing performance, and all for the benefit of others.

To say the youth of this country is going downhill might have some substance, but when it comes to these brutha's and sista's, I think we have something to be very thankful for.

As role models for all youth, Inman, Gabel, McElligott, O'Dell, Reynolds and Strong showed what unselfishness is all about.

Instead of the money going to them, the money goes to people who don't have a home to be reading a newspaper in right now.

So what did you miss? Quite a bit! Not only did you miss out on a full bar and southern style eats, you missed out on one heck of a show.

Megan O'Dell, from the Megan O'Dell and Friends benefit concert series of last year, made her way up from schooling in Southern California to grace the stage one more time for the benefit of others.

Area triple threat, actress, dancer and singer, Adrienne Reynolds, proved one more time why people pay to see an event with her name involved.

You also missed out on 2005 Stockton Apollo Night first place vocal singers, Sean Gabel and Shannon McElligott.

And I can't forget up and comer Brittany Strong, who, on its opening night, welcomed over 6,000 people to the brand new Stockton Arena by singing the Star Spangled Banner.

Wade Inman, although Jacob's uncle, a Bill Clinton look-alike and significantly older than the other performers, made a special appearance as he traveled from Edmond, Oklahoma to play his saxophone. Wade has played professionally since 1975 with artists like Garth Brooks, Toby Keith and Vince Gill. Wade also headlines for his own Christian band.

Robert Tan, a well-known vocal coach and founder of the Lodi Children's Chorus, was on hand to put the fingers on that hand to work. Playing the piano for the evening, Mr. Tan donated his talents and efforts for the well-being of others also.

As many of you know, Fat Tuesday, much of what the south has built its Mardi Gras financial income on in the past, is today, hence, Fat Sunday.

So what will be sent to help the big Red Cross? Well, unofficially the concert accountant predicted it to be over $5,000, and still, not all promising sources have been totaled, so you can only imagine how much will be tallied.

With well over three dozen sponsors, this event, complete with raffle, was a massive success.

Jacob Inman, his family, sponsors, entertainers and attendees should be proud of themselves for doing what they have done.

To know that a community can still come together, even in the wake of sidewalk-mania and garbage policy run amuck is great. To know that it was the idea of an area teenager to help those in desperate need while we complain about cement and waste, is even cooler.

I think we can all take a page out of Jacob Inman's book.

Wade Heath is a college student and host of Reality Check, Wednesday at 2 p.m. on SJTV 26. He can be reached at:

First published: Tuesday, February 28, 2006



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