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What: The Boulder Bridge House Holiday Benefit Concert

When: 4-7 p.m. Monday

Where: UMC, Glenn Miller Ballroom

Cost: $5

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B oulder musician Jefferson Le Suer, better known as Dizzy Wind to his fans, can be found most afternoons on the Pearl Street Mall, strumming his guitar and singing a mix of original Americana songs and covers near the Pearl Street Pub.

Le Suer, who describes himself as one of the "lucky members of Boulder's homeless community" -- who late Wednesday landed an apartment in Boulder for his family -- said he has a record deal and an album on iTunes, but his music doesn't produce enough money for him to quit his day jobs.

During the week, Le Suer serves food at Boulder Bridge House, a day shelter that provides assistance to the local homeless community, and plays Pearl Street for donations to keep his family fed.

Monday, Le Suer will take a break from his street gig to give back to the shelter that keeps him afloat.


Le Suer will perform with two other Bridge House employees and some University of Colorado students on Monday in the Glenn Miller ballroom for the first Boulder Bridge House Holiday Benefit Concert.

The concert will feature Le Suer's Americana music, an acoustic rock band, two a cappella student groups and a CU student who will perform holiday music.

Doors will open at 4 p.m. Monday; a $5 donation is required to enter. The event will feature a silent auction, door prizes and food and drinks. All of the proceeds will benefit the Boulder Bridge House.

The fundraiser was organized by two classes of CU freshmen after one of the students, Joe Cherof, was inspired to help fellow musician and now friend, Le Suer.

"I was working for the Bridge House food line when I met Jeff because I needed community service for my class," Cherof said. "We connected after he mentioned that he also played music, and then like a week later I was walking down Pearl Street with one of my fraternity brothers and saw him playing."

"I had one of those revolutions or like an ah-ha moment," he said. "That was the first time that I saw a homeless person performing on the street and actually noticed him and knew him on a personal level."

University of Colorado professor Veronica House, left, looks at the projection screen as freshman Joe Cherof uses his laptop to show the class a T-shirt
University of Colorado professor Veronica House, left, looks at the projection screen as freshman Joe Cherof uses his laptop to show the class a T-shirt design that will be used to raise money for the Boulder Bridge House during a writing and rhetoric class. The shirts will be sold at the benefit concert for $10 each, which will then be donated to the Bridge House. (JEREMY PAPASSO)

Cherof said he was inspired to organize the benefit concert, not only to raise money for the organization, but to help shine a spotlight on the talent of Boulder's homeless community.

"It's beautiful what these kids are doing," Le Suer said. "They've done everything. They really took the idea and ran with it, and I think it's nice that we get to showcase some of our talents to help an organization that means so much to us."

Veronica House, associate director for services learning and outreach, said CU's writing and rhetoric program implemented a Writing Initiative Service and Engagement component in 2008 to make the classes more meaningful to students.

About 20 faculty members have incorporated civic engagement projects into their classes, House said.

The first-year classes typically end with multiple group projects that contribute to the Boulder or campus community, House said, but this semester all 40 of her students are working on the Bridge House benefit concert.

"They got so excited about the idea that I let them adopt it as their end of semester project," House said. "I think they're seeing that they can actually make an impact in the community, even as freshmen, and that's really inspiring for them."

Isabel McDevitt, executive director for the Bridge House, said unlike typical fundraisers, the concert will give members of the homeless community an opportunity to contribute and be part of the efforts.

"It's really empowering for our clients to be able to not just receive charity but to contribute as well," McDevitt said.

"I think the heart of it though, is that it's bringing two groups of people together that are misunderstood," she said. "I think the students often overlook the homeless community in Boulder but I also think the homeless community sees students as just these rich kids so this event is doing a lot to bring these groups together."

Cherof said they've already raised nearly $2,000 of their $5,000 goal but regardless of whether they meet their goal, he's hoping the benefit will become an annual event.

"It's really been an inspiring experience and I hope the class will keep this as one of their projects," Cherof said. "I know I'm planning to get more involved with Bridge House and volunteer there more once the concert is over."

Follow Whitney Bryen on Twitter: @SoonerReporter.