Open Door Band
The idea for a band spawned from needing a live band to play at the veteran’s assistance event hosted each year by Turnings Points at the Palmetto Fairgrounds at the beginning of winter, Stand Down. Prior to having it’s own band, Turning Points had tried to find a band that would donate it’s time, but there was a substantial cost involved. As Turning Points Speakers’ Bureau volunteer, Linda Gaines suggested they find players who were homeless or had experienced homelessness to form a band as part of the Speakers’ Bureau. The band’s mission would be to educate the public on who the homeless are, how people become homeless and how Turning Points helps the homeless and those in danger of becoming homeless.
Turning Points started by putting up a sign that said “musicians wanted” at it’s Open Door Day facilities and borrowed a guitar from Mrs. Gaine’s husband to get the auditions started. There have been a number of wonderful and very talented people who have played with the band and continue to give their time to play for a cause they feel very strongly about. The band now plays for not only for Stand Down but also other events in the Manatee County area.
The band has been as large as 5 members but currently has a backbone of three regular players: drummer Dwight Keeton, Ron Brandt (Lead Guitar), and bassist Billy Gaines with occasional guest musicians, Connie Dillon and John Jr.