Rowe’s Research Runners returns, this time with new features including live music

Rowe’s Research Runners Walk/Run/Roll will be held Oct. 20 at the Pennsylvania Military Museum.
Rowe’s Research Runners Walk/Run/Roll will be held Oct. 20 at the Pennsylvania Military Museum. Photo provided

The music never stops emerging from the hidden places right before our eyes.

I’m a teacher by day — a 10th grade English teacher at Bellefonte Area High School — and I have the pleasure of working with hundreds of really great kids every day, some of whom are musicians, and some of whom are in bands that gig in our area.

One of those bands is Sauce, a sweet five-piece improv band that is playing the 2nd annual Rowe’s Research Runners One Mile Walk/Run/Roll at the Pennsylvania Military Museum at 2 p.m. Oct. 20, with a rain date of Oct. 21. It’s a charity run designed to raise money for chronic fatigue syndrome, Dysautonomia and related illnesses.

“This fundraiser is a great opportunity to give back to the community,” said Sauce singer and piano player Halle Mitchell, “and we really support the cause.”

Sauce includes Mitchell on vocals and keyboard, Hunter Bowser on vocals and guitar, Johnny Purnell on vocals and bass, Mason Keeler on vocals and drums and Dante Nelson on saxophone. They’ve been together for at least a year as a band, but the members have been playing together for quite a bit longer.

“The idea stemmed from Hunter and Mason,” Mitchell said, “and we all ended up getting together and playing music.”

The Rowe’s Research Runners One Mile Walk/Run/Roll is a unique event and it is connected to a wide variety of people, organizations and resources both within Centre County and elsewhere. Along with Sauce stepping in to provide live music, the Alliance of Heroic Hearts is helping out, as is Dragonfly Therapeutic Massage and Day Spa, the sensational Happy Valley Improv, Brenda Horner Artworks and even The Baltimore Running Festival and John’s Hopkin’s Children’s Center.

According to a press release, the Baltimore connection comes via Dr. Peter Rowe, a prominent researcher and the director of John’s Hopkin’s Children’s Center. Rowe is actively involved in what’s happening here in State College, and has built such strong relationships with his Centre County patients. He is practically an honorary member of the Centre County community, which is evident when considering what he had to say about local organizer Emily Steffensmeir.

“Emily and her team in State College have been awesome,” Rowe wrote in an email. “In a field without much federal funding for clinical research, the funds from the walk are really important, allowing us to keep a research team together so we can continue to make progress on improving the treatment of potentially disabling conditions.”

Last year, the Rowe’s Research Runners walk raised more than $20,000, which has allowed Rowe to hire research assistants and publish several papers to help educate other practitioners.

“I have lived with Dysautonomia for nearly five years,” team member Bethany Horner wrote in an email. “RRR has provided me with an opportunity to meet others with this condition as well as to participate in fundraising. Through RRR, I am able to play a role in supporting crucial research”

Of course, Sauce’s sweet sounds will only add to the event, giving it some additional energy that only a group of really great high school kids can bring, and because they’re a great band. I’ve played with some of the members here and there, and whether it’s Mitchell soulfully singing her way through one of her favorite songs, Keeler thoughtfully strumming his interpretation of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” or Bowser belting out a super slick guitar solo, Sauce brings a great vibe.

“We like a wide variety of tunes, but we mainly have a classic rock/jazz sort of vibe,” Mitchell wrote. “We do a lot of covers — the guys really love the Beatles — but we also do a lot of original songs, varying between a rock, jazz, or a combination. Whenever we play together, we feed off of each others’ energy in such a way that it allows us to grow closer together as musicians.”

Kevin Briggs is a musician, writer and teacher who performs at venues throughout central Pennsylvania. Contact him at KevinTBriggs@gmail.com.

If you go

What: Rowe’s Research Runners Walk/Run/Roll

When: 2 p.m. Oct. 20

Where: Pennsylvania Military Museum, 51 Boal Ave., Boalsburg

Info: support.hopkinschildrens.org/rowesresearchrunners