Wouldn't it be nice if we had better treatments for Alzheimer's disease? The thousands of dollars raised after Brian Wilson's performance in Jackson can help make that goal a reality.
Wilson, a legendary singer-songwriter and co-founder of the Beach Boys, took the stage at Thalia Mara Hall on April 28 in a benefit concert for the MIND (Memory Impairment and Neurodegenerative Dementia Research) Center at UMMC.
Wilson, at piano, and fellow Beach Boy Al Jardine
“We were thrilled to have Brian Wilson perform this evening,” said Dr. Thomas Mosley, director of the MIND Center. “He has written and arranged music that has been a gift to the world for many years.”
Wilson opened the concert with “Heroes and Villains,” an appropriate piece as generous support from businesses and citizens grossed more than $425,000 to defeat neurodegenerative dementia.
“The MIND Center is a national leader in Alzheimer's care and research located right here in Mississippi,” Mosley said. “The proceeds from the concert will help us cure, slow the progression of and prevent dementing illnesses.”
Fellow Beach Boys Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin sang and danced, danced, danced with their guitars as Wilson played his white grand piano. A nine-piece band joined the trio as they performed from a 50-year catalog featuring the band's earliest hits to Wilson's recent compositions.
Enjoying The Mind Center's Catch a Wave Sponsor Reception are, from left, Emily and Dr. Tom Mosley and his parents, Mattie and Tommy Mosley.
Next door, the Mississippi Museum of Art Garden was a sunny California beach party with a steel drum band, surfboards and beach balls during a pre-concert sponsor reception. A few lucky fans had the opportunity to meet-and-greet with Wilson, Jardine and Chaplin before the show.
Former UMMC vice chancellor Dr. James Keeton thanked Governor Phil Bryant, First Lady Deborah Bryant and members of the state legislature in attendance for their continued support of UMMC and the MIND Center.
“You are all here tonight to help us in our quest to find a cure for Alzheimer's,” Keeton said.
“I have the most pleasant job at this event: I get to thank all of you,” said Ambassador John Palmer, chair of the MIND Center Advisory Board. He extended gratitude to several key sponsors including Mississippi philanthropists Donna and Jim Barksdale who received a standing ovation from the audience.
As they clapped, danced and sang along to Beach Boys tunes, some attendees remembered their loved ones.
“For me, Alzheimer's has been a personal journey,” said Patricia McClure, MIND Center Events Committee Chair and Palmer's daughter. “Her name was Clementine and she was my mother.
“Your loss also has a name, a relationship that ended too soon,” McClure said to audience members who lost family members to Alzheimer's disease.
Brian Wilson, Al Jardine and the band sing to the California and Mississippi girls.
The performers also know the importance of family. Jardine invited his son Matt, who performs with the touring band, to come downstage and sing the falsetto lead in “Don't Worry Baby.”
“Music has a special place in the brain and in the mind,” Mosley said.