Tonya Bina: Local musician faces toughest gig yet
Many who enjoy live music in these parts have been arrested by the soulful arrangements of Arnie J. Green. I’ve had the privilege of dancing to the dreadlocked San Francisco-to-Colorado transplant on several occasions, the most memorable for me being the Grand Lake Lodge or the Lariat Saloon in Grand Lake, where his strength of funk in guitar and vocals can induce a dance vibe throughout the entire house.Arnie even played a song the eve of my wedding, a beautiful and obscure Van Morrison song he learned especially for us. It was by far the perfect punctuation to our day. Arnie has moved countless audiences in his career with the rich texture of his music, and it has come time for us to lend our hearts to him.Arnie is embarking on a journey with leukemia. A diabetic who frequently has his blood checked, Arnie’s blood counts have been a concern to doctors for awhile. Around Thanksgiving, Arnie was handed the diagnosis, but the form of the disease is still unknown. The singer underwent a bone marrow biopsy recently and is still waiting for answers regarding the stage of his illness and the course of treatment necessary.According to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, an estimated 137,260 people in the United States were diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma in 2010. Leukemia originates in the bone marrow or lymphatic tissues and involves the uncontrolled growth of cells. The accumulation of malignant cells interferes with the body’s production of healthy blood cells.It’s no doubt the burden of medical expenses are bound to be more than the uninsured singer can bear. He is reaching out to fans for help. “It is really difficult for me to reach out, it’s much easier to be on the giving end than the receiving end,” Arnie said via telephone as he traveled from Summit County to Grand Lake last Tuesday for a gig at the Lariat Saloon. “But I need help, there’s no question. And people have been good to me. I have nothing but gratitude.”Already, benefit concerts are springing up on Arnie’s behalf, and an Arnie J. Green Fund has been established at Wells Fargo Banks. Online donation information is available through Facebook. And there’s a fundraiser scheduled in Fraser at the Crooked Creek Saloon for 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 27. Tickets are $10 and all proceeds will go toward Arnie’s medical bills. A great family of musicians is gathering to perform for the event, including Arnie himself, Blues Collective, Bad Bobby Walker, Stereomaid, Hunker Down, Rob Gonzalez, Gary Key, Kay Irvine, Oly, Nine-Toed Bob, and many more.”It’s bordering on impossible,” Arnie said of not having insurance. “As a diabetic, a musician, health insurance… I cant’ afford it. Most musicians are in that same position. A lot of people are.”Originally from California, Arnie has shared the stage with various incarnations of the San Francisco based band Zero and Louisiana’s Subdudes, among other notables. He has been a musical contributor to a great number of benefits promoted throughout the region over the past twenty years. A resident of Dillon, Arnie has held a strong loyalty to Grand County, since Grand Lake was the first place in Colorado to which he moved with his then-wife Ann Anderson upon touring in Colorado with the band The Roadsters with Bobby Walker.Now, 18 years later, he still entertains in Grand Lake, as well as in the Winter Park-Fraser area -the Creek, the Pub, the Derailer, and Freestyles among them. Like one of the songs he sings “Rock Steady,” so has been Arnie’s attitude through all of this. “I’m not slowing down a bit,” he said. “I’ve been working pretty solid since the snow’s gotten good. “Music is therapeutic,” he continued. “I can’t imagine not being surrounded by it. It’s something to focus on other than how I feel. I’m busy. And I think I feel better as a result.” The response to his need already has gained momentum in Summit County. “The response has been typical of mountain people,” Arnie said. “Extremely generous, beyond belief. It’s a reminder of why we live up here. People are generous whether they have or don’t have.”
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