GREENFIELD — Jerry Bell’s thoughts are never far away from his pet project, Nameless Creek Youth Camp. The lodge — a building in progress on the grounds of the camp — still needs a deck; the restrooms are unfinished; and it needs 150 chairs and around 30 tables.
Time to raise some money.
Bell, president of the Nameless Creek Youth Camp board of directors, knew what kind of Greenfield-area fundraisers seemed to take off and do well, but he wanted a different kind of fundraiser.
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Fellow board member Roy Geesa came forward and suggested that his band could come out and play, Bell said. So the Cool City Band — for which Geesa plays keyboard — became the featured entertainment for the inaugural Fall That Jazz event.
Fall that Jazz, a fundraiser for Nameless Creek Youth Camp, takes place from 7 to 10 p.m. Nov. 3 in the banquet hall at Hawk’s Tail Golf Club, 145 S. Morristown Pike. The $40 admission includes music, a Tyner Pond Farms buffet, two drink tickets, dancing and door prizes.
The Indy-based Cool City Band’s playset spotlights Vegas-style jazz, with music from the swing era of the 1930s and 40s. The group also plays selections from the Great American Songbook — the music from the early 20th century that has been recorded and performed by a wide variety of musical performers.
With New Palestine resident Geesa heading up the group on keyboard, Tom Clark, John Nelson and Tom Meyer on the saxophone, Larry McWilliams on trumpet, Dan Hughey on trombone and Craig Waltz on percussion, the combined résumé of the seven instrumentalists reads like a who’s who in the music business. For example, Clark has toured with the Temptations, the Doobie Brothers and the Glen Miller Orchestra; Nelson played in orchestras of both Dorsey Brothers, Tommy and Jimmy; McWilliams Henry Mancini and Perry Como; Meyer played concerts with Frank Sinatra and Ray Charles.
The ensemble, whose members have played with some of the biggest names in music, can be seen regularly at the Indianapolis-based Jazz Kitchen the third Tuesday of every month. They also perform at weddings and family reunions and already are booked for New Year’s Eve at the Columbia Club in Indianapolis.
The group’s two vocalists — Thomas Troy Jr. and Laney Wilson — also have performed locally and across the country.
Geesa, as a three-year board member for the Nameless Creek Youth Camp, is happy to bring his band to Greenfield to support a cause he believes in. Since his retirement, Geesa spends one or two days a week working at the campground, but he acknowledged that at first, he wasn’t sure how much time he wanted to invest in the facility.
“It took me a couple of years to lose my heart to the camp,” he admits, “but it means a lot to me now.”
In addition to the entertainment, the event will feature several guest speakers including state senator Mike Crider, state representative Bob Cherry, county commissioner Brad Armstrong and Mayor Chuck Fewell.
Historian and author Joe Skvarenina will be on hand selling and autographing copies of his book “Nature’s Gift for All to Enjoy,” a history of the Nameless Creek Youth Camp and a look ahead to future plans for the facility.
Raffle tickets for a 50-50 drawing will be on sale; guests can bid on gift baskets and sports tickets through a silent auction; and local auctioneer Wayne Addison will auction off four one-day passes to Disney World.
Bell’s goal for the event is to raise $15,000 to $20,000 to complete the lodge. Although it had been a youth camp and recreational facility since its establishment in 1951 by Lowell “Tubby” Toms, Nameless Creek’s 12.7 acres was all but abandoned in 2005. Buildings on the property had fallen into disrepair, and plans were made to sell the land. In 2006, Bell became president of the Nameless Creek Youth Camp board of directors, and the camp has since become his pet project.
With Bell at the helm, the youth camp now sports playground equipment, an air-conditioned kitchen, restrooms, camping cabins, a fishing pond, a pavilion and a recreation hall. He already has events in the works for the as-yet-unfinished lodge: three wedding inquiries and a big family Christmas reunion.
“My volunteer corps isn’t as confident as I am,” Bell said, “but I’m not nervous. I’m pretty positive about all this.”
Fall That Jazz
November 3 from 7 to 10 p.m.
Hawk’s Tail Golf Club, 145 S. Morristown Pike
Tickets available at namelesscreekyouthcamp.com for $40 per person