JOPLIN, Mo. —
As the first sheets of plywood went up at the Habitat for Humanity house at 2630 S. Wall Ave., one of the volunteers suggested a unique strategy to keep the hammers going during the day.
“You think we ought to sing along?” Ken Rosberg asked as they rapped out a rhythm on what would become the front wall of the home.
The T-shirt, jeans and tool belt he wore suggested an ordinary volunteer. But the nearby film crew, armed with a cinema-grade camera and boom microphone, suggested something more. The CD Rosberg went to retrieve from his car confirmed it: It was one he recorded.
For 20 years, Rosberg has been the president and supervising broker for Cedar Creek Realty in Kansas City.
“When I learned of the many homes that had been destroyed in Joplin, it really affected me, and I wanted to do something,” Rosberg said. “It’s a project I felt really strongly about supporting.”
He turned to his passion: music.
“When I turned 50 a few years ago, I created a little bucket list — what would you like to do you’d never done before? One was to record some of my own music. I finally decided I wanted to act on that. You turn 50 and what kind of mark are you going to leave, what will people say about you? I wanted to do things for other people,” he said.
Rosberg, a vocalist who has performed at jazz clubs in the Power & Light District, went into a Kansas City recording studio with other jazz musicians and turned out the album, “Just Follow Your Heart.” It includes three original tunes he wrote as well as nine cover tunes. They called the effort, “Jazz for Joplin.”
“A majority of proceeds will go to building houses,” Rosberg said. “It just felt right.”
The film crew, from the National Association of Realtors, decided to include Rosberg’s story in a video about those in the real estate business who are making a difference.
Rosberg brought the first check from the album sales — $1,000 — to Habitat for Humanity Director Scott Clayton the first week of the build at 2630 S. Wall.
“I’m hoping there will be a lot more. And I wanted to stay and work, to help put some walls up,” Rosberg said. “It felt good.”
Want an album?
Find out more about the Jazz for Joplin project, or purchase Ken Rosberg’s CD and T-shirt, at www.jazzforjoplin.com.