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Ozzie will be remembered with fundraising concert

Jason Oswald was the vocalist and drummer for several bands in his musical career.

"Ozzie! Ozzie!"

Jason "Ozzie" Oswald lived for music. And music oozed from his soul.

He would find it fitting that a concert being held in his memory would be a fundraiser for the New Richmond Middle School music program.

The concert, "Ozzie's Rockin' Jam," will be held on Sunday, Aug. 4, at the Star Prairie Sports Bar and Star Prairie Community Center. Six acts are scheduled to perform, followed by an open jam session. The day's activities begin at 1 p.m. Along with the music, there will be activities for all ages, including a spaghetti dinner, bean bag tournament, horseshoes, volleyball, a silent auction and raffles. There will be activities for kids at the Community Center.

Oswald died in a car accident on Nov. 9, 2011. He was 37.

Oswald played in a number of local bands including Wicked Jest, Ume Ozned, Captain i, Right Arm and others. He also had a business where he worked as a DJ at a number of area establishments.

Following his death, his family and friends wanted to do something to honor his memory. Of course it had to be centered around music. The idea grew into this large event, which will feature Oswald's former bands and other acts that include friends he'd made through his years in music.

The bands are scheduled to perform 40-minute sets, starting at the top of each hour. There will be 20 minutes between each act to allow for set up, announcements and a karaoke contest.

The performances will begin with The Ricks Duo at 1 p.m. Steve Mireau is scheduled to take the stage at 2 p.m., followed by The Davenports at 3 p.m., Captain i at 4 p.m.and The Upside Downers at 5 p.m.

The performances will be capped by an open jam session beginning at 6 p.m.

Oswald's love of music started early in life. His family lived near New Richmond High School and one of his early joys was watching the Tiger Marching Band pass by his house as it practiced.

"From infancy, he was ready for the Tiger band," said Mary Hubbell, Oswald's mother.

By the time he reached school age, his musical interests were already deeply established. He joined the percussion section of the New Richmond Middle School Marching Band. He continued on as one of the members of the New Richmond High School Marching Band. He was a member of the band when it made its trip to Europe and Russia in 1990.

Oswald developed such a strong following that it neared cult hero status. He was sought out to perform in several pep rallies and other school events, where he would perform drum solos which drew a spirited cheering from the high school students.

After high school, Oswald was always involved in music. If he wasn't working with his own band, he was hanging out with other musicians, being the fun-loving free spirit who enjoyed helping other musicians succeed.

Hubbell said making the event a fundraiser for the middle school music program would follow Oswald's passion for helping young people feed their interest in music. She said making instruments available for students facing financial hardship honors his memory and ensures the gift of music to future musicians in New Richmond.

More information on the concert and making donations to the fund can be found at its website Donations for the fund can be deposited at WESTconsin Credit Union in the Jason Oswald Memorial Fund/Ozzie's Rockin' Jam.

For more information on the concert and the fundraising effort, contact Mary Hubbell at 715-248-7218.

Jeff Holmquist
Jeff Holmquist has been managing editor of the New Richmond News since 2004. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and business administration from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has previously worked as editor in Wadena, Minn.; Detroit Lakes, Minn.; Hutchinson, Minn.; and Bloomington, Minn. He also was previously owner of the Osceola Sun, Stillwater Courier and Scandia Messenger along with his wife. Together they previously founded and published The Old Times newspaper for antiques and collectibles collectors; and Up!, a Christian magazine of hope and encouragement.
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