Seymour resident performing with group during Special Olympics benefit


One band member works in the computer software business. Another one is an emergency room doctor, while there also is a pharmacist, a research scientist, a respiratory therapist and a music teacher.

That’s just a sampling of the everyday jobs of some of the 10 members of Soul Street.

When they come together to make music, they present everything from 1960s rhythm and blues to Bruno Mars.

"I was talking to somebody one day, and they said, ‘You know, when you guys were setting up, I just wasn’t sure what to expect,’" said drummer Rusty Hamilton, a North Vernon native who has lived in Seymour for about a year and a half.

"Then we play and I talked to this person after, and he said, ‘You are the funkiest bunch of nerds I’ve ever seen in my life,’" Hamilton said, laughing. "I think that’s a compliment, but it was a funny thing."

While the group typically plays at weddings and corporate events, it tries to do benefit shows whenever it works out.

On Sunday, Soul Street will perform in Seymour for the first time as the featured act for a benefit concert for Special Olympics Indiana Jackson County. Gates at Harmony Park, 745 W. Second St., open at 3 p.m., and the show will start at 4 p.m.

Admission is free, but Special Olympics representatives will be at the gates accepting freewill donations. They also will have a table set up with brochures and to take orders for T-shirts and other apparel.

Special Olympics Indiana is a not-for-profit organization that provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in more than 20 Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. The Jackson County program offers a weekly unified fitness club and a variety of sports, including softball, corn toss, bowling, basketball, horseshoes and track and field.

Other activities and fundraisers are conducted throughout the year. The organization relies on fundraisers to keep the program free for athletes to participate.

Those attending the concert are welcome to bring lawn chairs and blankets, but outside food and coolers are not allowed. Food and drinks will be available for purchase from The Brooklyn Pizza Co. and The Seymour Brewing Co. Owner Shawn Malone said he will donate 15% of food sales to Special Olympics.

There also will be a raffle for a quilt, which was made by Teresa Johnson of Sellersburg and quilted by Barbara Hall of Crothersville.

One time while visiting Malone’s business, Hamilton said Malone mentioned he would like Soul Street to perform at Harmony Park. The cost to have the group perform, however, was out of his budget.

Malone told Hamilton he wanted to do fundraisers for Special Olympics. The first one was a benefit concert by Jared Blake in July at Harmony Park. Hamilton then asked other members of his group if they would be interested in doing a free show, too.

"When I put it out to everybody, I just got agreement from everybody," Hamilton said. "I wanted to help Shawn because I think Shawn is good for the community. He works hard to try to make his business go over there, and he’s a good dude and he does some great things around the community. So for me, it was more to support what he’s doing, and when he picked the cause, I was fine with that. I think it’s really good."

Soul Street has been together for 10 years. Hamilton was in band at Jennings County High School and played in bands growing up. When he moved to Indianapolis for work, he stopped playing for a few years until he and two others decided to start Soul Street.

They handpicked musicians from other groups until they had all of the pieces they needed. Besides Hamilton on drums, there are two vocalists and others on bass guitar, keyboards, trumpet, trombone and saxophone.

"The premise of the band was that we would have people in the band we wanted," Hamilton said. "We really love each other. It’s a really cool band because we genuinely like to get together and play music together, so it’s really a lot of fun for all of us."

He said the group plays music that people recognize and want to stick around to hear.

"It will be rare that you don’t know everything we play, even if you’re 10 years old or 80," Hamilton said. "We pick a lot of stuff that’s got a lot of horn stuff in it just because the horns are cool and it’s not every day you have a whole horn section in a band. We’re inclusive. We really like people to get involved. Our horns will go out in the crowd and play. We have a lot of the interactive things going in the show, as well."

With band members living in Bloomington and Indianapolis and Hamilton being from North Vernon and living in Seymour, he expects to draw people from those areas for Sunday’s show. Plus, the band has a following from other places they have performed.

"I think we’ll draw from a pretty decent little radius to pull some people in," Hamilton said. "It will be fun for me because it’s local, which is nice. It will be a fun day of music over there, for sure. I would say we’ll have a good crowd. I really think we will."

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What: Concert to benefit Special Olympics Indiana Jackson County featuring Soul Street

When: 4 p.m. Sunday; gates open at 3 p.m.

Where: Harmony Park, 745 W. Second St., Seymour

Cost: Free, but freewill donations will be accepted at the gate for Special Olympics

Other details: Food and drinks will be available for purchase from The Brooklyn Pizza Co. and The Seymour Brewing Co. with 15% of food sales benefiting Special Olympics. There also will be a raffle for a handmade quilt. Plus, information about Special Olympics will be available.


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