Two years ago, in this column, I shared my adventures of being one of the Blues Brothers. Not an actual Blues Brother, mind you, but, along with John Hoffman, we played the roles.
We have the car, some prerecorded music and managed to learn to lip sync and imitate the original characters created by Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi.
After seventeen years of performing with John in four different states, in front of small groups and even a crowd of about 10,000, it was time for me retire the act.
I’ve always teased that John was the older of us, but I must admit that just isn’t so. I found that it was simply taking me longer and longer to recover from a performance, so I decided to hang up the sunglasses about a year ago. No more local Blues Brothers act.
This community has always been outstanding when it comes to gearing up for the holidays. It begins with preparations for Halloween, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day, and on to Valentine’s Day. For each of these holidays, there will be community activities with lots of local folks involved.
While we all have our own unique, personal choices for holiday activities, there are a couple that I particularly enjoy. One is bell-ringing for the Salvation Army, where I have an opportunity to donate some of my time for a worthy cause and visit with Christmas shoppers all the while. The other is the Harrisonville Police Department Shop With A Cop.
One might inquire as to what my former life as a Blues Brother has to do with the observance of any holiday. Please allow me to ramble on.
Harrisonville Chief of Police John Hofer contacted me a couple of weeks ago to ask for assistance in promoting this year’s Shop With A Cop. He knows that I would be willing to help in any way that I could, but he was asking if I was available as Jake Blues. I explained that the act had been retired, but I was still willing to be available in any other way possible.
Being the persistent member of the law enforcement community that he is, Hofer immediately contacted the other half of the now-defunct lip-syncing duo. John “Elwood” Hoffman reminded me of my passion for the cause, that I still had the car in my machine shed, and that all the chief was asking for was a little of my time in costume.
Of course, I relented and agreed.
The very next day (before I had time to reconsider), we met with four of Harrisonville’s finest as well as a very talented group of Harrisonville High School students. These young folks came equipped with cameras, wireless microphones, and a drone complete with camera.
Working “on the set” was an incredible experience. They would set up the shot, explain our role, shoot the scene once or twice, review the image, and proceed to the next shot. The whole experience, for us, took about two hours.
I have no idea of the time that was spent later in the editing process. I did marvel at the effort that was required to produce a 2 to 3 minute video. I can only image what it takes to produce a movie or television show.
The final product made its debut on the big screen at last Friday night’s football game. Since that time, it has been posted on the Harrisonville Police Department Facebook page. The last time I looked, it had been viewed by more people than the entire population of Harrisonville.
Shop With A Cop will be on Dec. 16 this year. If you have an opportunity to stop by and witness a truly great outreach to the community, please do so.
The good folks in our police department are donating their time and are asking us to donate a few dollars to help out. Please consider helping make this year’s event even better than ever.
David Coffelt remains retired as a Blues Brother, is a Harrisonville area resident and his email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.