Jim Peterik performs a tune from the parking lot of the BEDS Plus consolidated shelter in Brookfield on April 11. | Courtesy of BEDS Plus

The clients at the consolidated emergency shelter set up by BEDS Plus in Brookfield to safely house those experiencing homelessness during the state’s stay-at-home order to limit the spread of COVID-19 received a musical treat by a bona fide star over the weekend.

The hit songwriter who fronted the Ides of March and Survivor, for whom he penned the mega-hit “Eye of the Tiger,” staged a brief outdoor concert on April 11 for clients at the shelter and a small group of staffers – who maintained social distance by watching from their cars.

Peterik, strumming an acoustic guitar, performed a handful of songs from the parking lot of the St. Barbara Church Social Hall, where a little less than 30 clients have been living around the clock since the shelter was established on March 18.

“There are so many online, drive-by parties for kids’ birthdays and engagements and other things, and I thought, ‘You know, these people are on 24/7 lockdown and they never get to leave their space either, so let’s do something for them,'” said BEDS Plus volunteer Beth Myburgh, in a press release. “It’s just nice for them to get some fresh air and do something different.”

Myburgh, a LaGrange resident, organized the event, asking Peterik if he’d come by to perform for the clients.

“He’s just all about supporting the homeless community and the disadvantaged,” Myburgh said. “He’s a really nice guy.”

The appearance by Peterik was the highlight of the impromptu parking lot dance party, which also featured Myburgh and her husband, Francois, blasting some tunes from a boom box they brought with them. Volunteers and clients alike sang along and danced amid the almost summery temperatures on Saturday.

Among the songs that Peterik performed was his big hit, “Eye of the Tiger.”

“I know everybody needs a little of this,” Peterik said to those assembled. “Remember in this COVID atmosphere, you gotta have faith. You gotta have the eye of the tiger.”

For some clients, it was a chance to reconnect with an artist they had enjoyed for decades.

“I had one client tell me she had seen him in the 1970s in St. Louis,” said Valerie Vedral, communications specialist for BEDS Plus.

BEDS Plus will be posting video from Peterik’s performance on their YouTube channel this week and will also share the videos on their Facebook page.

The 69-year-old Peterik, who grew up in Berwyn and performed with Ides of March while a student at Morton West High School and Morton Junior College in the 1960s, still lives in the southwest suburbs.

 

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