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Jammin' at J@M Against Alzheimer's

Purple Willie Jam organizer David Wheeler
David Wheeler
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Few families in America are untouched by Alzheimer’s disease. The event’s prime organizer says an upcoming Tallahassee fundraiser will help ease the burden for those impacted by this malicious affliction.

Purple Willie Jam organizer David Wheeler
Credit David Wheeler
The Florida Channel
Purple Willie Jam organizer David Wheeler

Ask Tallahassee’s David Wheeler about his Dad Willie and he readily recalls the man his father once was and what happened before his death.

“He was the guy you wanted to sit next to at a dinner party. He was brilliant and funny and Alzheimer’s attacked his brain and destroyed his mind and taking care of him nearly killed my mother,” he remembered.

Because of this very personal connection to the disease, Wheeler has become a dedicated supporter of the Alzheimer’s Association.

“They fund advocacy at every level,” he said. “They also fund programs that assist people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers and families and communities and provide training for caregivers and respite care and the whole package.”

Support that Wheeler explained is very tangible, both for himself and in the way he’s connecting the cause to the community.

“I’m participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s (set for Saturday, Sept. 17) now for the third year and this is the second year for ‘Purple Willie Jam’.”

Wheeler saying the Jam is named in honor of his dad and purple being the color associated with the fight against Alzheimer’s. The word “jam” denoting music and indeed there will be three popular bands providing the entertainment.

“’Travelin’ Light’ does they do a mix of Americana, folk rock, and blues,” Wheeler said. “They kick off at 8 o’clock. At 9, Hal Shows and ‘D’Amnesiacs’ bring surreal verse wedded to rock ‘n roll to the stage. The ‘Fried Turkeys’, they describe their music as ‘greasy-hippie-roots-country’. They’ll wrap things up at 10 o’clock.”

And this time around, Wheeler said the word “Jam” has even more significance because the event will happen at J@M, the stylized initials for Junction at Monroe, where the Jam will happen this Saturday evening.

“If you haven’t been to a show at J@M, it’s the coolest place in town for a show. It’s an old grain and feed store that was built in the 30s. The acoustics are amazing; the sound is tremendous!”

Maybe one of the more unique features of musical performances at J@M, Wheeler said, is that you don’t actually have to be there…to be there.

“A few weeks ago I listened to a show from J@M. I plugged my Smartphone into my home theatre system and I turned it up and I tell you it was the next best thing to being there. People anywhere with a good Internet connection can listen and hopefully go to the web site and donate.”

And Wheeler said that web site is: “ There you’ll find a link to the live audio and an opportunity to donate for pre-admission.”

As well as more details on how to join the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

Copyright 2020 WFSU. To see more, visit WFSU.