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Benefit planned for school music programs

Dancing shoes are optional at an Aug. 4 event beginning at 1 p.m. at the Star Prairie Sports Bar. The event is organized to remember Jason "Ozzie" Oswald, a talented local musician, by raising funds for New Richmond Middle School music programs.

Planned for the evening are live music, a silent auction, spaghetti dinner, volleyball, horseshoes and activities for children at the Star Prairie Community Center.

Oswald was a popular musician in the New Richmond/Star Prairie/Hudson/Roberts area, singing and playing drums with bands "Captain i" in the early 2000s and "Right Arm" in 2011, among others. From the time he was old enough to stand at the window and watch the Marching Tigers high school band practice in front of his home, he was a drummer, beating out a rhythm on anything handy.

At age twelve, he got his first drum set, and was accepted into the New Richmond Middle School marching band. The training and discipline learned in middle school would serve him well as he entered high school and joined the New Richmond High School Marching Tigers.

In 1990, he traveled with the band to Europe and Russia, an experience he never forgot. When Ozzie died after a car accident in November 2011, his family and friends discussed ways to honor his memory and give something back to the community that gave him his start.

The group decided to focus on middle school music programs, which are often students' first foray into music education, with classes in orchestra, band, and choir. Instruments are expensive for schools and students, and budget cuts can sometimes place even more constraints on arts programs. With funds raised at Ozzie's Rockin' Jam, it is hoped that music will be possible for middle school students for a long, long time.

Organizers of Ozzie's Rockin' Jam are seeking donations of merchandise or services for the silent auction, as well as cash contributions for the fund. Donations may be deposited to the Jason Oswald Memorial Fund/Ozzie's Rockin' Jam at WESTconsin Credit Union in New Richmond.

For more information about Ozzie's Rockin' Jam: Making Music Possible, visit the website at or call Mary Hubbell at 715-248-7218.