Event set for September 9

Some of Lake County’s most talented attorneys and judges are coming together for a live, in-person outdoor concert to benefit Prairie State Legal Services. This year will mark the event’s 10th anniversary. So what can you expect? An amazing night of music!

“From the beginning, Strike A Chord was always intended to be an open mic-style event to showcase the musical talents of those in the practice of law,” said Steve Rice, Waukegan-based attorney and Strike A Chord event organizer. “I play guitar and sing, and I knew there were a lot of other Lake County lawyers who could do so equally well, if not better. I thought if we could find a venue that would host us for free, I knew I could line up the entertainment” According to Steve, the musicians are all Lake County practitioners and are from almost every practice area, including three judges. The event will feature 15 acts, including a few full bands, who will each play two or three songs. You may even spot Steve accompanying a few of the local judges who like to sing, but need a guitarist.

Alan Jones, who aside from practicing law, has basically organized the musicians, including the tech in more recent years. In his spare time, Alan plays in various bands and also helps manage his brother’s mega-band, Tool.

While the venues have changed over the years from a bar area of an old bowling alley to a restaurant in Libertyville, Steve said the concept of the event has remained same: “Put out the word for musicians; put out the word for sponsors; and play!” In 2020, the event was virtual due to the pandemic. The music was pre-recorded and emcees introduced the music. “It went remarkably well,” according to Steve, “thanks in large part to Development Director Jenn Luczkowiak running the Zoom show on her laptop. We wanted to try something new this year, so we will be performing outdoors on the Waukegan lakefront at Green Town on the Rocks, beginning at 5:00 PM. A cash bar and food will be available.”

“Prairie State has been lucky to have Steve Rice at the head of our local fundraising committee, also known as the Campaign for Legal Services Team. He has been the mastermind behind Strike A Chord from the beginning and this event has raised $100,000’s over the years and I think the legal community really enjoys it. We cannot express our gratitude to Steve, Al, and the musicians enough,” shared Prairie State Legal Services Director of Development, Jenn Luczkowiak.

Strike A Chord and the people associated with the event have had an indelible impact on Steve. His fondest memory is receiving an unexpected gift from Judge Tom Schippers, who sadly passed away from cancer two years ago. “I had a whimsical postcard in my office that we once mailed out to our ‘fans’ to advertise the event,” Steve concluded. “One day before the event about five years ago, Judge Schippers, who always played and helped us draw a crowd, emailed me, asking if I could send him the postcard image. I thought he was going to use it to get people to come to the event. In reality, he had the image blown up and printed, signed by the musicians, and then framed. He gave it to me after the event, inscribed, ‘To Steve—World’s Greatest Roadie!’ Every time I glance at the image in my office, I’m reminded of both the wonderfulness of the event, and the wonderfulness of Tom Schippers. Both make me smile.”