By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Mar 01, 2013 at 1:09 PM

The gigs, the electricity between musicians on stage, the creativity. It sounds great to be a musician. And it is great to be able to make one’s living making music. Until crisis hits. In the face of being uninsured, medical bills can be scary, and rightfully so.

Luckily, when a musician faces tough times in Milwaukee, often his or her peers will step up to the mic to ask for help. A group of musicians here is doing just that on Sunday, March 24 with a benefit concert for bassist Gary Christensen.

Christensen, currently the bandleader of the WAMI Award-winning All Star SuperBand, is a local veteran, with a career dating back decades. He recently had a medical crisis that led to a four-week stay in a Madison hospital, including a long stint in the ICU. The bills for that and for his post-hospital treatment have been huge, says his manager Barbara Wagner.

Now, says Wagner, it’s time for the community to step up and help a guy that’s been focused on the community for years.

"All proceeds from every week's SuperBand show go to local charities; this has been status quo since Christensen started the SuperBand," says Wagner. "The recipient for the last several years has been Easter Seals of Southeast Wisconsin."

So, she’s organized the benefit, from 2 until 5 p.m. at the 449th American Legion Post, 3245 N. 124th St., in Brookfield. On the bill are Ray Tabs, Lem Banks, Warren Wiegratz and VIVO, Deirdre Fellner, Adekola Adedapo, Annie Denison, Pete Sorce, Jackson Dordel and Sherwood Alper. The 16-piece SuperBand, directed by Guy Kammerer, will also perform.

Christensen will be on hand for the event.

"Gary has been an integral part of Milwaukee's music community since the ‘70s, when he played in local rock bands with the likes of a young Daryl Stuermer and others," notes Wagner.

More performers are expected to be announced soon for the show and high-end raffle items will be on display at the event. Attendees may purchase food and desserts and the post's bar will be open.

Admission is $10 and parking is free.

All funds raised at the benefit will go directly to Christensen who, says Wagner, is "extremely grateful for any and all assistance."

Stay up to date by checking allstarsuperband.com or the event page on Facebook.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.