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Ryan White Youth Awards

The Ryan White Youth Awards
Concerts with Kathy Mattea, Suzy Bogguss & Will Hoppey
December 4, 1998 Lincoln Theater, Washington D.C.

Story by Sue Phelps & Glenda Paradee
Photos by Glenda S. Paradee

Ryan White Awards banner The Ryan White Youth Service Awards were established by Metro TeenAIDS in 1990 to recognize notable contributions in the fight against adolescent HIV/AIDS. The unique and diligent efforts of the honorees are examples of what can be done to protect our children and youth from HIV and AIDS. The Ryan White Youth Service Awards also help to increase awareness about the HIV/AIDS epidemic and its impact on young people. The awards are named in honor of Ryan White, a young man whose struggle to overcome discrimination made national headlines. Before his death in 1990, Ryan dedicated himself to educating his peers and community about HIV/AIDS.

Will Hoppy The program was an incredible mix of honoring the recipients and GREAT music. Four awards were handed out. A man living with AIDS was honored, Danny Reed, as well as the Surgeon General of the US, David Satcher, Keleigh Matthews whom has dedicated her life to the service of those living with HIV/AIDS, and The Hard Rock Cafe whose generosity has resulted in new programs and additional resources critical to the success of youth-serving organizations involved in the fight against teen AIDS and HIV around the world. The program began with a young singer/songwriter by the name of Will Hoppey (pictured to right) who performed of few of his own tunes. A member of Congress, one of the Shrivers, and Ryan White's Mom, Jeanne White-Ginder, gave out the awards...Suzy Bogguss was "up" next. And UP is the key word here.

Suzy Bogguss As a preface, I had never seen a Suzy Bogguss concert before. So what I'd experience was all new--and VERY entertaining. Like Kathy, Suzy had a contingent of folks there. She came out and proceeded to rock the joint. I was a bit surprised by how uptempo her show was... great band! She did 13 songs and an encore. As you'd expect, we were treated to all the big hits (Drive South, Cinderella, Letting Go, Outbound Plane. New tunage, too-- most notably, Nobody Love. Suzy was having some problems with composure on this song--and anyone who actually listened to the words would have picked up on the reason...it's a very moving song about a guy at the end of a short rope. All night Suzy was engaging and very funny-- the crowd loved her. Oh--and we were all treated to the "real" version of Night Riders Lament--in it's entirety. Mattea tries to yodel Seems that in June when she tried to do that little tune at the Girlfriends Bash, some ham named Kathy kept trying to yodel....causing widespread laughing fits throughout the crowd. Sidesplitting laughing attacks, actually. Suzy did a terrific job. I remember thinking--boy they could NOT have chosen two better representatives of the Nashville music community to entertain. Well, she was called back out for an encore and someone yelled "Mr. Santa". I'm fairly certain that was not to be her planned encore. A very cute holiday song--catching some members of the band a little off-guard. I'm always amazed at singer's willingness to comply with a surprise request...seen it happen dozens of times at KM's shows..

Mattea takes the stage Well, after a short intermission, it was Kathy's turn. I probably need to set the stage a bit and fill in some details about the evening--partly in the interest of accuracy and partly to preface some of Kathy's remarks and my observations. It's an area where I tread a little lightly--mainly because I don't want to be misinterpreted in any way. This being an AIDS benefit, there were a lot of folks there from the gay community supporting this cause. One of the groups there was the ASGRA (Atlantic States Gay Rodeo Assn.). In fact, they were sponsoring an after concert party at the infamous Black Cat Bar. Mattea with members of the ASGRA group Anyway, I kept spotting this rodeo "queen" walking around and something just wasn't "right"-- so I kept stealing furtive glances. Well, DUH. She was a he. (I think it was the five o'clock shadow that gave it away..)

Back to Kathy. Well she came out..simply and without fanfare. In the usual manner we've come to expect this year, she sat down, picked up her guitar, Blackie II, and proceeded to blow the doors off the joint. If there was a word that most sums up my feelings about her portion of the show it was PRIDE. (Please extend that to Suzy's part of the program, too!!) But, it was a bit like watching my Mattea and Bogguss perform kids when they were little--as they strutted across a stage or played a weeping willow in some school production... Knowing that someone you care about is up there on a stage, putting it on the line--exposed and vulnerable .....and feeling that incredible kinship....it's just a wonderful thing to experience...

Kathy finished up the song and greeted the crowd...She allowed as how this was the first time the audience had on more makeup than she wore....and they were GUYS!! She then confided that this was NOT her typical country music gig!!! The laughter was deafening... And this kind of banter was so interesting to me... Here is a woman who absolutely led the charge against AIDS, a bonafide, trusted friend of the gay community all over the world, poking gentle fun. And everyone knew where her heart was... They loved her, and rightfully so. Mattea and Bogguss onstage with their bands

So the evening proceeded with 15 of her great songs... Most notable was a show-stopping version of SEEDS, that I have personally never heard done better. Also a very sweet moment when she went into her experiences at the AIDS Quilt gathering she attended in DC a couple years back. You will all remember that Kathy was asked to do a number and participate in the AIDS quilt/reading of names during that candlelight vigil at the Mall?? Well, she told about that experience and how she had lost some good friends to AIDS. In the process she evoked the name of "Bob" (sorry I don't know his last name), a fan she had come to know who died of AIDS. At the candlelight vigil she read his name. His friends had made a quilt panel in his memory and sewn one of her CDs into it. So in remembrance of Bob, Kathy dedicated "Standing Knee Deep" to him (his favorite song) , but before she sang it, she wished him a happy birthday and threw some sparkly red confetti stuff into the air. I would later get to meet Bob's buds at the Black Cat. What a great moment in the show that was...

Mattea and Bogguss perform Well the hour-plus show ZOOMED by. It was over -- but there were more wonderful surprises lying in wait. Oh--almost forgot. Kathy called Suzy out to do the backing vocals on Further and Further Away during her set. WONDERFUL moment. Just like the CD version, only better. Suzy came out and got a little preoccupied with the mic stand. Kathy kidded her and told her to just hand it to the guy on the front row to hold...which she proceeded to do.. Kathy reached over and like a protective mom with a hyper kid, put her arm around Suzy (to contain her fidgeting) and told her she was just kidding....Calm down, Suzy. Not sure if I explained this very well, but it was then that I saw with my own eyes the amazing friendship these two must have...what a cool thing that they would be able to share this experience with each other...and all of us.

Mattea and Bogguss perform Well, back to the finale!! Kathy had conned Suzy into doing a few bars of Night Rider's Lament. Suzy was overly-suspicious (as well she should have been after the Fan Club Breakfast Debacle last year!) Kathy tried to tell her that she wanted to see if she could pull it off--maybe even to the point of having practiced?? Well, they launched into it and I'm here to tell you that KM was just as lame as two years ago--and it was just as funny. At one point, between spasms of laughter, Kathy exclaimed..."I suuuuccckkk at this" Biggest laugh of the night. And she did. But what good sports. Then they launched into Home, the Wendy Waldman tune--also one of my personal favorite "The Water is Wide". It was awesome. Stunning even. The finale was Teach Your Children--with all of Suzy's band, Kathy's band the Nymphs, Kathy & Suzy.

The whole evening was truly a wonderful memorable event.

Kathy Mattea with Andy Ilves of the NAMES Project Foundation (The AIDS Memorial Quilt)
Suzy Bogguss with Glenda S. Paradee of Thanks for the Music and Music for Charity, Inc.
Congressman Tom Davis, Eleventh District, Virginia
Dr. Satcher with the Metro TeenAIDS group
Jeanne White-Ginder
US Surgeon General David Satcher, MD, PhD, and Jeanne White-Ginder, Ryan White's mother
Kevin Neil, of Metro TeenAIDS, Kathy Mattea, and Jeanne White-Ginder
Kathy Mattea with WMZQ Morning personality Gary Murphy.
Kathy Mattea and Suzy Bogguss pose with the Ginders
E. Roger Duke, Kathy Mattea and Dr. William Lawson
Kathy Mattea with members of the Metro TeenAIDS group
Kathy Mattea with Glenda Paradee
Suzy Bogguss with Gary Murphy and a Metro TeenAIDS member
Suzy Bogguss and Jeanne White-Ginder
Suzy Bogguss with Congressman Tom Davis

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