The Sunday concert raising money for the couple’s medical bills features a who’s who roster of regional artists, including Troll for Trout, Larry McCray, The Soul Syndicate, Drew Nelson, Hannah Rose Graves, Fauxgrass and more. See the full schedule.
Grand Rapids singer-songwriter Ralston Bowles has spent years supporting and mentoring countless West Michigan musicians.
Now, in a time of need, the music community of Grand Rapids is showing its support in return.
Bowles’ wife, Cindy, last year was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer, just a few years after Ralston Bowles battled and survived colon cancer.
In an outpouring of support, friends of the Bowles family are planning a benefit concert at 3 p.m. Sunday at The Intersection to help cover medical bills and other expenses. The lineup boasts an impressive cast of regional acts including The Soul Syndicate, Hannah Rose Graves, Eric Engblade Trio, Mick Lane, Troll for Trout & Larry McCray, Drew Nelson, Channing & Quinn and Joe Shields.
A suggested $10 donation will be collected at the door, with a silent auction also taking place to raise additional funds.
Grand Rapids attorney David Ledbetter, a friend of the Bowles family helping organize the concert, describes Ralston Bowles as someone “who likes to help others more than himself.”
And Bowles’ assistance often reaches further than that of a mentor. He frequently helps artists sell merchandise at their concerts and even offers his home as a place to stay for touring acts.
“Ralston has done a lot to promote local music, so it’s great to see a response back,” Ledbetter said of a GoFundMe.com campaign for the Bowles family, which already has raised more than $6,000. Donate online here.
A true ambassador of West Michigan’s music scene, Bowles is an award-winning singer-songwriter who founded the Tuesday Evening Music Club series at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. He’s a familiar fixture at many concerts in the Grand Rapids area, championing local bands and touring artist. (See a Tuesday Evening Music Club video below.)
Quinn Mathews, half of the indie-folk duo Channing & Quinn and station manager for WYCE-FM, says this type of cause is “what Grand Rapids and West Michigan are all about. This is one of those times where a community family needs our help and we’ll all be there for them.”
Mathews considers Bowles both a friend and mentor who was especially helpful when Mathews took over as station manager last year.
“I was beyond excited, but certainly don’t mind admitting I was also overwhelmed,” he said.
“From time to time, Ralston would just come by and chat with me at the station. Sometimes about music, but sometimes just about family, life or maybe a documentary he watched on Netflix. He knew I just needed to breathe and relax so he would just come by and chat. It helped me tremendously.”
Bowles — who says he’s “grateful beyond measure” for the support he’s received — recently grabbed Mathews’ phone, jotted down a note, telling him to read it every morning. The last lines of Bowles’ note seem to affirm the West Michigan music community’s plans for March 19.
“Acting small. Dreaming big. Moving forward. Every day.”
Find more information and RSVP online here.
VIDEO: Ralston Bowles & Friends at Meijer Gardens, August 2016
VIDEO: Ralston Bowles, “Grace” (C2G Music Hall)
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