JamPak in need of replacement transportation

We’ve written previously about Anni Beach, and the good work she does teaching bluegrass and old time music to children in the Arizona desert communities. She welcomes several dozen interested youngsters to her home near Phoenix a few days each week, giving them something positive to focus on with her JamPak sessions. They also perform at events all over the state, bringing fun and bluegrass wherever they go.

Earlier this week JamPak’s trusty Winnebago motor home, affectionately known as Bessie, failed its latest test of roadworthiness.

The RV has taken a variety of young musicians to a multiplicity of festivals from their base in Chandler, Arizona, adding thousands of miles to its odometer. 

Now there isn’t any alternative but to find a replacement, as JamPak Blues ‘N’ Grass Neighborhood Band leader and driver at the time Beach explains … 

“Bessie, essential to JamPak and bluegrass, has driven her last mile. Actually, only a few blocks from home when she breathed her last in the middle of rush hour in the intersection. Our 1988 Winnebago 27-foot motor home has been our transportation since 1994. Thousands of dollars have kept her on the road but due to age she just can’t go on. There is no other transport that equals a motor home. We’d pack all the kids, at least 20, all the camping gear, all the instruments, and everybody’s stuff into Bessie. No one can ever believe when they see us pull up and unload how we do it. 

We cannot rely on other modes of transportation. Most of our parents work or don’t drive or have other responsibilities. We’ve always provided our own transportation for 25 years. We cook, wash up, dress up, practice, eat, and keep warm and safe in Bessie. (A big tent is used for camping.) The very thought of having to give her up has been so sad.

We’ve done our best to make it all work but there just isn’t enough time or money to keep everything running anymore. The heater stopped working, the refrigerator stopping running, the driver’s door won’t open from the outside, and now the engine. She’s just old and we’ve done our best to take care of her. Duct tape is everywhere!”

With Mrs. Beach’s blessing, Peter Klett the father of Maxwell, a member of JamPak for seven years, has set up a GoFundMe account …..

“Max has come a long way in that time and now performs in one of the mini bands born from JamPak called Fair Black Rose. We have taken on the role of camp cooks and travel all over with JamPak in our VW bus. These kids deserve a safe reliable ride! They spread smiles and music everywhere they go.”

As Mrs Beach says, “the gigs just keep coming.” JamPak has provided a secure environment for youngsters to enjoy learning to play a musical instrument that, in turn, brings pleasure to others. Also, it has set some participants along a better pathway.  

To help to keep the JamPak Blues ‘N’ Grass Neighborhood Band mobile you can donate here. 

JamPak Blues ‘N’ Grass Neighborhood Band is a 501(c)(3) non-profit enterprise. 

This video includes a brief glimpse of Old Bessie as JamPak set off to attend another gig …. 

Share this:

About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.