Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Houston Musician Samantha Banks Needs Our Help

On Friday, Feb. 23, percussionist extraordinaire Samantha Banks suffered “a major hypertension event that caused bleeding in her brain” and is currently in the Neuro Intensive Care Unit in a hospital in Houston’s Texas Medical Center. Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Ruthie Foster shared this news on her Facebook page this morning. A GoFundMe account for Samantha has been established by organizer Fabian Perez to provide immediate funds for Banks’ medical expenses.

In just 14 hours, 20% of the modest $10,000 goal had been met by 26 people. There’s still a long way to go. Excitedly, after 15 hours, it was already up to $3561 given by 43 people. But $10,000 is only the minimum to meet what will be potentially high hospital expenses, plus rehabilitation in coming weeks, involving daily transportation to and from the hospital, medicine, and living expenses. So please don’t stop getting the word out. The goal is first for her to wake up and make a full recovery, as everyone is praying for and expecting, as we ask for, walking on faith. Ruthie Foster's fan base is a great start; Houston fans who watched Ms. Banks grow up is another.

A Houston musical prodigy, Banks attended HISD’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and went on to study jazz at Boston’s Berklee College of Music. Studies there included Percussion Performance, Music Theory and Composition and Music Education. In the Brazos Valley, we’ve been fortunate, for almost two decades, sheer joy in fact, every time we’ve seen Banks on stage performing with Ruthie (sometimes with bassist Larry Fulcher and guitarist Renn Carson]. That’s been a magical music combination.

Samantha’s talents shine through all her music, whether using a full drum kit or creating a perfect rhythm with a set of spoons and a tambourine.

Because Samantha is presently not conscious, the power of music has shown a true healing effect on her in just the past few days. Ruthie shared that Samantha’s daughter, Briana, “played music for her, and her blood pressure lowered, so we believe she can hear us.” Messages of hope and prayers for healing, plus financial gifts in any amount are what are most needed right now.

Independent musicians are classically underinsured. In fact, anyone in the music business understands that, as a group, you play for love, not money, to pursue the dreams in your mind and the music in your heart.

Those who make it into a superstar category are the exception to the rule. The music that Texans all flock to hear, the music that Samantha plays, is heard in concert halls like the Cultural Activities Center in Temple, Texas, Kerrville’s Folk Festival, SXSW in Austin, and the Main Street Crossing in Tomball, Texas. There's every small club, outdoor venue, and path down long dirt roads involved just to play the music that fuels your spirit.

Here’s a portion of “Another Rain Song,” with the band of Ruthie and Samantha, from April, 2017.

Ruthie asks, in behalf of Samantha’s daughter and mother, for prayers and words of affirmation and joy. Everyone can go to Ruthie’s Facebook page and add your words of support there. As Foster explains, they are reading every message to Samantha, even though she remains unconscious. The power of love is mighty and strong. The power of faith is welcomed and requested.

The beauty of a collective group of strangers, one to another, when rallied for a singular goal is the power of love. As Ruthie sings and Samantha plays in Ruthie's song, "Full Circle," you know the refrain, “Everything that goes around comes back around again.” It’s time today to rush in and make a contribution to Samantha’s fund--in any amount--for the long way back to the stage. Your gift can be anonymous if you prefer.

Please share your message for Samantha on Ruthie Foster's Facebook page and the direct link to the GoFundMe account is there as well. Get well soon, Samantha; we want to be first in line for your first concert back in action! STORY UPDATE: As of 3.17.18, this is the progress on the funding goal. $33,060 of $50,000 goal Raised by 465 people in 18 days Updates are posted on the GoFundMe page, so check here for the latest information:

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