Back in January we told you about a local musician looking for a cure. Chris Mucci, 61, of Alton, passed away on February 21 surrounded by his friends and family. This weekend, Chris's friends and accomplices in the music community are hosting a memorial benefit show to celebrate his life and raise funds to assist his wife Shirley in her time of need.
The benefit will be held tomorrow, April 9, at The Loading Dock in Grafton. Butch Moore, The Friendly Henrys and others are scheduled to perform.
Chris was a professional guitarist, singer and songwriter in the St. Louis area who played James Taylor-style folk, Southern rock, piano and acoustic guitar at area wineries as well as institutions like Broadway Oyster Bar and Stagger Inn in Edwardsville. He met his wife while working as a musician in Florida, playing with his band The Woody Brothers. The two were married in 1997 and soon after relocated to Alton. Chris played solo and as one half of a duo, and his last performance was at a January fundraiser, when his bandmates from The Woody Brothers came in to help raise money for his treatment.
"He was a full-time musician, that was Chris's passion, that's who he was," says Mrs. Mucci, adding that Chris was a creative force who could do anything he put his mind to. "This is what just kills me, he just had all this wonderful ability."
Shirley says her husband was an inspiration, a "whip smart" guy who graduated from Syracuse University with a long list of honors, organizations and accomplishments. "He went to Woodstock, honey, he did everything cool. He said, 'I didn't let anyone stop me, I just went.'"
Shirley says that their house was always full of music, but there's one song she never got to hear Chris play--a song he wrote for her a few months before he died. Shirley said she believes it was written when Chris was at home between November and December of 2010, right before Chris went back to Barnes Jewish Hospital to undergo more treatment for his Burkitt's lymphoma. She found the song while going through his possessions after his death. It's called "Just Another Day (I Know You Love Me)." You're gonna need a tissue for this one.
As I sit there in the haze of another foggy day From the medicine I take that that doesn't really wash away The pain that is so bad, that it's all that I think about And it forces me to go where I never want to go.
Then you come into my room And you take my by the hand and the pain just fades away Well, it's not like there's a choice I don't get to run and hide The day stretches on and the trembling starts inside
I hold onto myself, I do as I'm told. I get so very tired and I feel the awful cold Then you come into my room and take me by the hand And the pain just fades away
I'll say one thing for pain, It concentrates the mind It forces me to think, and it opens up my blinds As it washes over me On another foggy day As I sit there in the haze, wishing I could fly away
Then you come into my room and you take me by the hand And the pain just fades away Don't ever go away.
Shirley gave the song to Justin Patterson, one of Chris' musician friends, and instructed him to put it to music. "His music was his life. It's all he ever wanted to do."
The event starts at 2 p.m. at The Loading Dock in Grafton, IL, and will go until 9 p.m. or later.