Arts & Entertainment

Haberman's friends, celebrities to play for cause

The Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick will be jumping Aug. 1 with the inaugural Steve Haberman Volunteer Jam.

And Haberman, a longtime Tri-City musician and piano teacher, has recruited two of his best celebrity buddies to some of the Tri-Cities' finest musicians for the 12-hour fundraiser for the Benton Franklin Volunteer Center.

Jerry Douglas, from Young and the Restless soap opera fame, will serenade the audience with some Sinatra-style jazz songs. And 14-year NFL football veteran Ben Davidson will be master of ceremonies.

The show starts at noon and continues for 12 hours. Admission is $25.

"I'm very excited to be coming back to the Tri-Cities for this show," Douglas said in an e-mail this week. "The people there are wonderful and a great audience to sing for."

Though Douglas stays busy with his recurring role as the ghost of John Abbot on Young and the Restless, he's also been venturing off into other roles.

"I just completed a new movie called The Romance," he said. "It was the part of a wild Texan called Bubba. A bit different role for me, but much fun to do."

He'll also sing one of his new singles, Will I Ever Find Her. "It's contemporary in its arrangement and yet romantic," Douglas said. "I'll perform it with Steve Haberman, the best pianist in the world."

Douglas and Davidson have been longtime friends of Haberman and didn't hestitate to agree when he asked if they would donate some time to the Volunteer Jam, they said.

"Steve and I met 25 years ago when we did a Variety Club telethon together," Davidson said in a telephone interview. "He's hard to say no to because he's a good friend and I'm more than happy to take part in this Volunteer Jam."

Davidson -- a towering 6-foot-8 -- is best known as Big Ben. He played with the Oakland Raiders from 1964-71. He also played for the Green Bay Packers in 1961 and the Washington Redskins from 1962-63.

When he retired in 1974 he started acting. His roles included the films M*A*S*H and Conan the Barbarian. But the Miller Lite commercials are his most memorable roles, he said.

"I did those commericals for 17 years," he said. "I had a lot of fun doing those."

Davidson, who lives in San Diego, spends most of his time traveling in a motorhome with his wife Kathy.

The Volunteer Jam also features several popular local musicians, including the eclectic voices of Cathy Kelly and Trish Thompson of Bluezette; the 10-piece Latin jazz and salsa band El Puerto; sax men Barry Bergstrom and Gary Danielson; jazz singer Mary Lou Gnoza; the romantic music of Latino Breeze; the Millionaires Club featuring Tom Gnoza; 10-piece swing band Jive at Five; Debi Eng Ensemble; the Great Unknown Jazz Band featuring Laurie Tyler; and Strings Attached featuring Rob Burroughs, Chuck Williams and Dara Quinn.

Haberman said he wanted to do something to help the Volunteer Center and a 12-hour telethon-style musical event seemed the right way to go.

"I've got a lot of experience doing telethons, so I thought an all-day music festival would appeal to the community," he said. "This is the first time we've had this many outstanding musicians together in one setting. And nobody said no to me when I asked to perform and volunteer their time to do it.

"The Volunteer Center does such good work for this community. I want this jam to be a success because it's important this organization stays afloat."

Tickets for the show are available at Ted Brown Music, 2600 N. Columbia Center Blvd.; Rececca's Galleria Salon, 7139 W. Hood Place in Kennewick; and the Albertsons stores on Clearwater Avenue in Kennewick and Gage Boulvard in Richland.

Tickets also will be available at the door. The $25 fee allows people to come and go throughout the 12-hour music jam.

*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514;