By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News
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At first, it was to be a Saturday birthday bash, open at 7 p.m. to everyone who likes a good song or three.
Michael Rivers, recording artist and founder of the Peninsula Men's Gospel Singers, is turning 53, so his musician friends — plus his son, singer-guitarist David Rivers — put together a community variety show.
The lineup started out like this:
■ Irish pub music with David Rivers and fiddler Erin Hennessey.
■ An old-time gospel music quartet with Dan Cobb, Dave Meyer, Shawn Dawson and Michael Rivers.
■ Jazz and beyond with Charisa Silliman and Scott Gossard.
■ Michael Rivers with original music from his CD “My Father's Face.”
But these best-laid plans changed some two weeks ago when Dawson, 43, had to go to Swedish Medical Center in Seattle for a heart procedure.
“He's the biggest heart and the life of any party,” Michael Rivers said of his friend.
Along with his performances with the Men's Gospel Singers, Dawson is known for his work in local musicals over the years, such as “Gilbert & Sullivan a la Carte” and “Plaid Tidings.”
As for Dawson's health now, “he's OK, all things considered,” Michael said.
But Saturday night has been transformed into something different: a free all-ages benefit for Dawson, who is self-employed and facing hospital bills.
In addition, Gregory Bondy, who like Meyer, Dawson and Cobb is a member of the Peninsula Men's Gospel Singers, is poised to join the event.
“He's stepping up to pinch-hit [for Dawson] in the quartet, if need be,” Michael Rivers said.
“We'll pass the boot at least once or twice,” he added, referring to the cowboy boot used as a collector for tips.
Wine on the Waterfront, while a wine bar, has a music room and lounge that are open to all ages. The venue is upstairs in The Landing mall at 115 E. Railroad Ave.
For more information about Saturday's festivities, phone the venue at 360-565-8466.
Features Editor Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5062, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.