The legacy of a local musician lives on this weekend through performances by those whose lives he touched and by raising funds to help students pursue a career in the arts of their own.
Twelve bands spread across two nights at two bars in Logansport are playing in this year’s annual Rockers for Scholars event. Funds raised will go toward the Jamie Rouch Memorial Art Scholarship available to current-year graduates of Caston, Lewis Cass, Logansport and Pioneer high schools who have been accepted to a college or university and plan to pursue an education in visual, performing or literary arts.
Jamie Rouch grew up on a farm near Royal Center and went on to become a musician, visual artist, poet, singer/songwriter, sound technician and producer, the event’s website, rockersforscholars.com, states. He started Big as a Barn Studios, which was featured on “Good Morning America” and drew musicians from all over the country. He passed away from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, in 2008.
Matt Swisher, who organized the event this year, fondly recalled memories of recording with Jamie Rouch in his studio, as many others had, several of whom will be performing in this weekend’s shows.
“Every single band has a connection to Jamie Rouch and Big as a Barn Studios,” Swisher said, going on to describe Friday’s lineup as harder, while Saturday’s takes on a more folk-driven theme. Swisher himself will be performing vocals in his band Owl Friday night.
Most artists work regular jobs and pursue their passion in their free time, Swisher said, adding that this scholarship can help put students on a path toward making a living doing what they love.
“Any time you could provide your livelihood while expressing your creativity and your passion for the arts seems to be what all musicians would strive for,” he said.