Discover Your Island

‘Ward Island Wannabes’ Raise Money for the Women’s Shelter of South Texas

December 01, 2015

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – The “Ward Island Wannabes,” a non-profit music collective affiliated with Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, has raised $1,217 for the Women’s Shelter of South Texas over the last 17 months. The group, comprised of A&M-Corpus Christi faculty, staff and students, had its beginnings in the Corpus Christi First Friday ArtWalk.

            The band, which started in mid-2014, entertains the crowd by playing hits ranging from Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard to classic rock favorites by the Rolling Stones and the Grateful Dead.       

“We play a mix of country, bluegrass, blues, and classic rock from a variety of artists,” said Dr. Jeff Dillard, Assistant Professor of Political Science and founding member of the Ward Island Wannabes. “And because we are leaderless, we seek to preserve the spirit of a spontaneous jam circle.”

On any given day, the band could be made up of the following participants:

  • Dr. Jeff Dillard, Assistant Professor of Political Science and founding member, on guitar and vocals
  • Dr. Dan Jorgensen, Chair of the Department of Social Sciences, Professor of Public Administration and founding member, on harmonica, vocals
  • Dr. David Wallace, Professional Assistant Professor of English and founding member, on  guitar and vocals
  • Dr. Mark Hartlaub, Professor of Psychology and Interim Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, on cajón, a box-shaped percussion instrument originally from Peru
  • Dr. Don Melrose, Professor and Interim Chair of Kinesiology, on guitar
  • Dr. Steven Seidel, Professor of Psychology, on guitar
  • Dr. Wendy Walker, Professional Associate Professor of English, on vocals
  • Kyle Bauer, a University student, Corpus Christi Facial Hair Club President, member of the Student Veteran Organization, and veteran in the U.S. Military, on the washboard
  • Paul Crothers, a University student, member of the Student Veteran Organization, and veteran in the U.S. Military, on the bass guitar

The “Ward Island Wannabes” is open to TAMU-CC faculty, students and staff. Those who would like to join should contact Dr. Jeff Dillard at 361.825.5511 or  jeff.dillard@tamucc.edu; or Dr. Dan Jorgensen at 361.825.3269 or daniel.jorgensen@tamucc.edu.  

In keeping with the band’s impromptu style, The “Wannabes” will perform on Friday, Dec. 4, beginning at 6 p.m. in the courtyard of the Art Center of Corpus Christi. The performance will be held during the same evening as ArtWalk. Donations for the Women’s Shelter of South Texas, a non-profit organization that provides free, comprehensive support services to victims of sexual and domestic violence, will be collected during the performance.

“Sometimes we'll be on an ArtWalk stage, sometimes not,” said Dillard. “That's the Wannabes, spontaneous.”

Since its inception, the band has gone on to play at the Island ArtWalk, outside of the Texas Jazz Fest and at various University events. Each time the Wannabes play, the band collects money to be donated to the Women’s Shelter of South Texas.

“Let’s face it – if the Wannabes had to rely on the money we make playing music, we would be miserable failures,” said Jorgensen. “But by giving our tips away to a deserving charity, we are a huge success. Tell me that isn't using our heads to create a great excuse to play music with friends.”

For more information or to donate to the Women’s Shelter of South Texas, visit http://www.thewomensshelter.org/.