Less than two months after taking the stage at the Lobero Theatre to play a benefit show for SBCC Music, Local resident and ‘70s rock star Michael McDonald is once again returning to the venue, this time to support nonprofit The Rhythmic Arts Project. The former Doobie Brothers singer’s November 1 performance at the Lobero will feature his wife Amy McDonald as well as guests Bill Champlin, Tamara Champlin, and Ellis Hall. TRAP founder and Mr. McDonald’s longtime friend Eddie Tuduri will also join the band onstage, laying down the backbeat behind the drum kit.
Mr. McDonald has performed this benefit show a few times before, and in an interview with the News-Press the singer expressed excitement at the opportunity to once again support his friend’s nonprofit. According to its founder, TRAP’s curriculum uses drums and other percussion instruments as a tool to teach kids life skills by engaging four of their senses: visual, tactile, auditory, and speech. While music is an obvious part of the curriculum, the nonprofit also uses the drums for lessons about reading, writing, and arithmetic.
As Mr. Tuduri described his program, “It’s drums, but it’s so much more.”
Calling music “an area of our humanity without which we’re not rounded human beings,” Mr. McDonald told the News-Press he’s happy his friend and former band mate is exposing it to young kids with special needs.
“I think any kind of arts education turns on a light, a brain-spirit connection that doesn’t happen any other way,” he said.
Mr. McDonald and Mr. Tuduri’s shared history goes back to the 1970s, when they both played in bands around Los Angeles. According to Mr. Tuduri, he played with the singer at one point in a band called Bad Management. Looking back at their younger days, Mr. Tuduri recalled that it was immediately apparent Mr. McDonald was a special kind of talent.
“Mike just stood out. That voice and that demeanor,” he said.
The TRAP founder added that he’s very much looking forward to once again sharing the stage with the singer.
“I love playing with him. I don’t know anybody who doesn’t,” Mr. Tuduri said.
After a neck injury from body surfing left him temporarily paralyzed and unable to play the drums, the initial inspiration for The Rhythmic Arts Project came when Mr. Tuduri was mulling over what else to do with his life. While in rehabilitation, Mr. Tuduri and one of his therapists came up with the idea of using percussion instruments as an activity patients could do. The drummer’s music industry friends then donated percussion instruments to his rehabilitation facility, which shortly thereafter started getting used for therapeutic purposes. Over the years, TRAP’s purpose has turned from therapeutic to pedagogical, and Mr. Tuduri couldn’t be happier that his life path led him to start the nonprofit.
“I thank God for my broken neck,” he said.
During his November 1 performance, Mr. McDonald will likely play a few new tunes as well as a version of the Leonard Cohen song “Hallelujah,” but the singer said the concert will largely center on songs of his that “people want to hear.” Having lived in Santa Barbara off and on since the 1980s, Mr. McDonald’s Lobero Theatre show will also be something of a homecoming gig. The same could also be said of venues the singer plays in Nashville, TN, another city in which the singer lived for a number of years. When asked which city feels more like more of a homecoming, Mr. McDonald couldn’t pick between the two.
“They both feel like home to me,” he said. Tickets for Mr. McDonald’s November 1 benefit show for The Rhythmic Arts Project can be purchased online at www.lobero.org. The show will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Lobero Theatre, located at 33 E Canon Perdido St.