First CAS Bike-A-Thon a Success
Described as a “perfect match,” the popular musician Mr. B’s Joybox Express partnered with the Cultural Arts Strings to launch a successful fund-raising effort in the Bike-A-Thon’s first year.
With 45 total participants and 11 volunteers, the Bike-A-Thon served to bring awareness to Cultural Art Strings’ newest endeavor, the Manchester Youth Orchestra project. Organizer Aileen Rohwer said that the project will combine the area’s finest youth musicians playing, string, brass, percussion, and wind instruments.
“Since the district does not currently have an orchestra, CAS will fill that gap and allow not only Manchester students but those living in towns around Manchester to come together for a unique musical experience,” Rohwer said. “The group is due to recruit in the coming months and will begin in January 2016.”
The “perfect match,” Rohwer said, was because Mr. B’s Joybox Express and CAS have the common goals of providing assistance to arts and sports programs that are often cut from school budgets due to lack of funding.
“With his unique piano bike (a giant tricycle powered by three riders) carrying an upright piano on a platform, Mr. B led riders on a 13-mile trip throughout Manchester, stopping to play four concerts and inspire the riders to support this cause,” Rohwer said.
The ride started at Manchester United Methodist Church, stopped at Alber’s Orchard, returned to meet the “Easy Rider” (four mile) crew at the corner of Hibbard and Dutch, then proceeded to the Library and Alumni Field for concerts before returning back to MUMC.
Twelve-year-old Alden Rohwer and his friend Tomas Ridley (14) volunteered for the special task of manning the “back wheels,” pushing Mr. B up the steep hills on Bethel Church Road and Hibbard Street. An occasional fifth-wheel extra push was provided by one of the adult riders who accompanied the group.
Sponsors and supporters of the event included Riverfolk Music & Arts Organization, Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, Aberdeen Bike & Outdoors, SAFE KIDS Huron Valley, U of M Pediatric Trauma, SteeleGrafix, Manchester United Methodist Church, Alber Orchard and Cider Mill, Busch’s Fresh Food Market, Chelsea Bakery, and Manchester Market. Special assistance with escorting and crossing streets was provided by the WCSO Village deputy.