The beat goes on to end polio
River Cities Jazz performs at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, during the band’s tour in support of polio eradication. Photo courtesy of Mitch Biba
River Cities Jazz, a 19-piece band based in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, USA, toured the United Kingdom, France, and Switzerland in late June and early July 2010, performing nine concerts that raised about $20,000 for Rotary’s US$200 Million Challenge.
"In addition to raising money for polio eradication, this tour was the first time that the band has performed internationally, [including] the Montreux Jazz Festival, one of the premier jazz festivals in the world," says band leader Mitch Biba, who plays trumpet and flugelhorn and is a member of the Rotary Club of Wisconsin Rapids.
By staying in Rotarians' homes, band members got a true taste of other cultures and formed new friendships, he adds.
The only Rotarian in the band, Biba says he got the idea for a jazz tour to benefit PolioPlus while leading a District 6250 Group Study Exchange team to the Philippines in 2009.
"I met Les Wilson [Rotary Club of Maghull & Aughton, England], team leader for a District 1180 GSE in the Philippines at the same time. One of our discussions included his district’s fundraising dance for polio eradication," Biba says.
During the discussion, they decided to "make this crazy idea a full-fledged tour."
Biba is hopeful the band will raise an additional $15,000 for the challenge.
What’s your club or district doing to help meet Rotary’s challenge? Let us know in the comments section below.
Written for Rotary Leader
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