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Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013 12:01 am

Letters to the Editor 11/21/13

Legendary bluesman B.B. King performed at Sangamon Auditorium, UIS on Nov. 17.


I read the review in Illinois Times today about B.B. King at Sangamon Auditorium, UIS. (“The thrill is gone,” Bruce Rushton, Nov. 18, illinoistimes.com). I thought I would share a different perspective.

For concertgoers coming to hear B.B. King play “Lucille” and to sing the blues in the way he is famous for, those attendees were probably disappointed. But for more than half a century, B.B. King has thrilled countless audiences all over the world. In his 88 years, B.B. King has defined blues royalty.

Our band, Back Pack Jones, had been blessed with being selected to be the opening act for this blues legend. For me professionally, and even more so personally, having the opportunity to open for him was the most incredible opportunity and experience so far in my own musical journey. For those who have followed Mr. King’s legendary career, most would concur that B.B. King is the blues, and will always be.

It is clear that this legend, who is and will remain blues royalty, is near the end of what is perhaps one of the most inspiring careers of any profession. The countless lives he has touched, the musicians he has influenced (who have become legends in their own right) will likely be unmatched, perhaps by any blues musician or perhaps any guitar player/singer ever.

If B.B. King returns to Springfield, or I have another opportunity to see him again, I will jump at the chance.

Kirk Lonbom,
Back Pack Jones


If you were an important religious leader planning a large prayer meeting, what recent happenings in the news would you choose to be the focus? The devastation in the Philippines would top my list. Typhoon Haiyan has killed almost 4000, at the latest count. Nearly 500,000 homes were damaged and 3 million people were displaced. Surely such tremendous suffering would merit our prayers.

Then there was the damage by the recent storms in the Midwest, which hit the town of Washington particularly hard. Entire blocks were leveled. As of this writing, six people died from the storm in Illinois. This tragedy so close to home deserves our support and attention. A special prayer meeting would certainly be warranted.

But maybe you would want to make a political point with your prayer meeting, one that might move legislators. Better funding for DCFS comes to mind in light of findings that a rising number of children are dying from abuse and neglect.

So which of these issues did Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield schedule a prayer meeting for? None of them. That’s right. He ignored all these tremendously important issues and planned a prayer meeting basically opposing gay marriage. He put out a press release that he would offer “Prayers of Supplication and Exorcism in Reparation for the Sin of Same-sex Marriage.” This was scheduled for Nov. 20.

On a brighter note, the pope seems to be leading the church in a more positive direction. He led a recent prayer meeting for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan attended by 60,000 people. When asked about gay priests he told reporters: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?” He has often been quoted as saying that the church is obsessed with gays, abortion and birth control. He elaborated that we need to prioritize such ideals as love and serving the poor over these other issues.

M. Karen Soltys

Route 66 Film Festival extends hearty thanks to Illinois Times for front-page coverage of our festival this year. We especially want to acknowledge Scott Faingold for his intelligent, comprehensive article (“Cure for the common blockbuster,” Oct. 24) and James Bengfort for his generous donation of advertising space. We couldn’t have done it half as well without all of you!

Route 66 Film Festival Board

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