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Greenhouse Project gets starry support

Karel Ancona-Henry
For the Nevada Appeal

Sons of Champlin take center stage at the second annual Concert Under the Stars on Wednesday behind Adele’s Restaurant & Lounge in Carson City, to benefit The Greenhouse Project.

After 28 years as a member of the band Chicago, Bill Champlin, founder and leader of Sons of Champlin, traded in a steady gig in order to write a new chapter for Sons, one of the definitive bands of the 1960s and ’70s Bay Area music scene.

Champlin’s career as a singer, songwriter, musician, producer and arranger have garnered him much recognition and awards over four decades, among them two Grammy Awards, one in 1979 for co-writing “After the Love Has Gone,” the Earth, Wind & Fire hit, and another in 1982 for co-writing “Turn Your Love Around,” made popular by George Benson.

Champlin joined Chicago in 1981, staying until August 2009, when he left to pursue a solo career. The same month, he released his solo album “No Place Left to Fall.” It’s a decision Champlin is happy with.

“The first 10 years with Chicago were great, and in many ways I remade (their) sound in terms of vocals and arranging,” Champlin said. “But after awhile, there were problems … joy was not allowed.

“I am thankful for the experience and grateful for the money, but desperately needed a break,” Champlin said. “Today, I am absolutely giddy with the entire (creative) process … I haven’t had something bring me such joy in a long time.”

He’s rediscovering the joy in part by making this current incarnation a family affair, involving his wife Tamara and son Will in the band.

“We’ve been married 28 years, which in this business is an accomplishment, and we just really love being together,” Champlin said. “There for a bit I got teased that it was like the Paul and Linda (McCartney) thing.”

Will began playing flamenco guitar at the age of 10 and graduated from the Berkley College of Music. His writing, singing and playing have helped to shape Sons of Champlin’s current sound. Some of Will’s songs have been added to the playlist.

The performance supports a worthy cause.

“By coming to the concert people will be able to help (support The Greenhouse Project), have a great night enjoying one of the great bands of the ’60s and ’70s, and hear the (former) lead man for the band, Chicago,” said Charlie Abowd, owner of Adele’s, whose wife Karen Abowd, is one of the project founders. “One of the most important issues facing our youth is health and nutrition.

“This project brings ownership and knowledge of healthy food in the form of getting involved in growing clean foods.”

The Greenhouse Project seeks to establish and operate a community-based greenhouse using renewable energy sources and ecologically sustainable growing methods. With a focus on environmental stewardship, it will provide educational and vocational opportunities for students, youth groups, and special needs individuals. It also will provide year-round organic produce to agencies serving low income Carson City residents.

Local band Southpaw Freddie will open the show.

The evening begins with a silent and “Chair-ity” auction at 5:30 p.m. Highlights include a one week stay at a Hawaii vacation home, a Monterey Bay two-night getaway as well as dozens of items donated by local merchants. The “Chair-ity” auction of chairs designed and decorated by well known Carson City residents showcases their creator’s humor and creativity.