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Final Gordon Park Pops Concert & Candlelight Vigil 9/11/02

by Abigail Wolfe

Milwaukee’s Riverwest neighborhood joined together for a candlelight vigil at the Gordon Park Pops summer music series, which concluded with a performance by Paul Cebar & The Milwaukeeans. Paul Cebar and the Milwaukeeans are practically Milwaukee’s house band, making them the perfect choice as the final band in the Gordon Pops seasonal music series. Paul is Milwaukee born and bred and proud of it, evident in the true Midwestern joie de vivre that he expresses so eloquently through his bluesy grooves. Due to transportation problems, Paul wasn’t able to meet up with the Milwaukeeans for the first part of the show, but his fellow band members filled the warm night air with their own brand of cheerful reggae as they patiently waited for Paul to arrive. Midway through the concert, Riverwest resident and Peace Action member George Martin led a candlelight vigil that made the summer night glow. Riverwest youth — a tangible representation of America’s future — were invited up front to explain what peace meant to them. One tyke chirped “I think peace is being nice.”Another whispered into the microphone, “No war,” as the laughter of the children playing on the park equipment echoed behind him. Martin spoke of the ethnic harmony of the Riverwest community and how that eclectic mix related to the almost 80 different nationalities who mourned their peoples’ losses in New York on September 11. Such profound loss also proved to be the world’s gain, inferred Martin, forcing Americans to come together in the kinship of both victimization and hope. He asked that the world move beyond seeking revenge, and ask for accountability, reconciliation and understanding instead. Following Martin’s words, the crowd joined the children in singing “Let it Be” by the Beatles. After the vigil, Paul Cebar, fresh off the road, jumped onstage with his band to round out the night’s concert. Many groups sponsored the Gordon Park Pops, including Lakefront Brewery, The Tracks Pub, Linneman’s Riverwest Inn, Peace Action, COA Youth & Family Center, Riverwest Artists Association, T.H. Stemper Co., Miller Brands, Milwaukee County Parks, Riverwest Currents, and Shepherd Express. Special thanks to the law office of former East Side Alderwoman and Riverwest resident, Larraine McNamara-McGraw, for underwriting the cost of the band. Riverwest Currents – Volume 1 – Issue 9 – October 2002