Sunday, March 1, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

‘Hugz for Hermz’ benefits Fairfield saxophonist

Wilson MS musician 8_12_14

Local musician Herman Wilson has been battling multiple sclerosis since the 1990's. Friends have organized an event called “Hugz For Herma” at the Empress Theatre in Vallejo, on August 24. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)

By
From page B1 | August 15, 2014 |

FAIRFIELD — Saxophonist Herman Wilson likes to give and get hugs. The 57-year-old Fairfield resident will get what may be the biggest hug of his life Aug. 24.

Wilson has multiple sclerosis. He refuses to treat it with medication and focuses on his diet and regular workouts.

He’d like to try something new: hyperbaric medicine. His insurance won’t cover it, he said.

A bevy of friends, who also happen to be musicians, will be part of “Hugz for Hermz” at the Empress Theatre in Vallejo. They, too, will probably be the recipient of a hug or two from Wilson.

The longtime musician refuses to let the crippling condition affect his life, particularly his passion for music. He still plays. When his fingers don’t want to cooperate, Wilson hangs on to the note he’s playing. Musicians he plays with have learned to improvise in those situations, he said.

Wilson vividly recalls what he believes was the first symptom he felt. He was playing at a wedding reception, got a chill on his lips and his hand started to have a mind of its own. His first thought: “This is what it means when you get to be 30.”

Things got worse. One year he could score 28 points in a pickup basketball game. The next year, he was being picked up off the court, he said.

He got the diagnosis in 1990. Wilson said he wasn’t comfortable with what he was hearing and thought to himself, “I don’t want to be on the Jerry Lewis telethon.”

“In a strange way, you feel like you will be cast away from everyone,” he said, “that a major cloud hangs over you.”

He didn’t put down the saxophone and continued working for Solano County Mental Health Services until he retired in 2009.

“It’s been such a game-changer,” Wilson said of multiple sclerosis. “There’s nothing like MS. It came into my body. It’s a part of me now.”

Life is very unpredictable now. One time, while ill with the flu, he fell while walking to the bathroom. Wilson said he crawled into the bathroom, shut the door and found a sense of peace. Five minutes later, he was able to get up and take a shower.

Wilson’s friend Cindy Allen came up with the idea for a benefit. She also dealt with a neurological condition and endured for many years before finding hyperbaric medicine.

“I’ve watched his MS progress,” Allen said.

That concern, with the care and kindness Wilson has given her, convinced Allen it was time to take action. She started planning the show less than three months ago.

“It’s been a wild ride,” she said.

Local promoter Jeff Trager is part of the team and Allen connected with Sweet Relief, a nonprofit that helps raise money for career musicians who are struggling to make ends meet while facing illness, disability or age-related problems.

All the performers at “Hugz for Hermz” gave an enthusiastic response to being part of the benefit, Allen said.

“He’s feeling how much of an impact he’s had now with this outpouring of support,” she said.

Performers include Rick Stevens, former Tower of Power lead singer, and Solano County favorites, The Time Bandits.

Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/amaginnisdr.

“Hugz for Hermz”

  • 4 p.m. Aug. 24 (Doors open at 3 p.m.)
  • Empress Theatre, 220 Virginia St., Vallejo
  • 552-2400
  • www.empresstheatre.org
Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey

Amy Maginnis-Honey joined the staff of the Daily Republic in 1980. She’ll tell you she was only 3 at the time. Over the past three decades she’s done a variety of jobs in the newsroom. Today, she covers arts and entertainment and writes for the Living and news pages.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Peace and patience: Quilters gear up for show

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: C1Comments are off for this post

 
School bands compete in Pageantry on Parade

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Calling someone a ‘smoker’ is hilarious

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

Conservancy plans next Quail Ridge Reserve walk

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Police seek suspect in armed robbery

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
4-H Presentation Day brings fun, education to Fairfield

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
What you eat can affect your medications

By Marilyn Ranson | From Page: C4

 
Rollover in Suisun City

By Aaron Rosenblatt | From Page: A5, 1 Comment | Gallery

State schedules ramp closure at freeway project site

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

 
Vigil doesn’t pan out amid concerns

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A5

Appointments on tap for Board of Supervisors meet

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

 
Tri-City NAACP honors community members at gala event

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
CAASC 18th Annual Chinese New Year and Scholarship Celebration

By Steve Reczkowski | From Page: A5 | Gallery

NY, SF town house prices through the roof

By Bud Stevenson | From Page: B7

 
Parker Road restaurant does brisk business

By Susan Hiland | From Page: B7

 
Fairfield police log: Feb. 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: Feb. 27, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Airmen with local ties finish basic training

By Nick DeCicco | From Page: B10

Force draws many from South, middle class

By Tom Philpott | From Page: B10

 
.

US / World

Christie to Calif. Republicans: No rush to pick 2016 nominee

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
US missionary abducted in Nigeria is courageous, friends say

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

Dress that ‘greatly resembles’ stolen Nyong’o gown found

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Weekend storm drops snow, rain, hail in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Churches, synagogues, mosques bear tough New England winter

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Mother charged in death of infant found in California swamp

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Hyundai recalls 263,000 cars due to power-steering problem

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Blind dog rescued after being lost for 2 weeks in the cold

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Details about proposed national monuments in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
National monument supporters in California get antsy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Greece will not seek another bailout, prime minister says

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Attacks kill 37 people in and north of Iraq’s capital

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

US drone strike in Yemen kills 3 suspected al-Qaida fighters

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Nemtsov a possible ‘sacrificial victim,’ investigators say

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Opinion

Editorial Cartoon: March 1, 2015

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sound off for March 1, 2015

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
New school funding plan remains on bumpy path

By Dan Walters | From Page: A8

Even Gruber deserves a break sometimes

By Megan Mcardle | From Page: A8

 
I might just vote for a Democrat next time around

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 2 Comments

Aging Fairfield housing agency faltering

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Today in History: March 1, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: March 1, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

With numbers falling, Houston-area nuns’ future uncertain

By The Associated Press | From Page: C3

 
Horoscopes: March 1, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: C4

Kidney Walk participation helped give me a positive outlook on life

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: C4

 
.

Entertainment

Take a look – Dr. Seuss has a new book

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

 
Publisher launches line of Warhol e-books

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Q&A: Opera star Deborah Voigt writes of turbulent life

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2Comments are off for this post

 
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY BEST-SELLERS

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2

Review: ‘The Girl on the Train’ has realistic plot

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2Comments are off for this post

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B11

.

Sports

Vikings girls looking for first section title

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Local Report: Vaca’s Aquino wins Masters wrestling title

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

Phegley hopes his style will catch on in Oakland

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
A year after meeting Tiger, Indian golfer on the rise

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Jeff Gordon takes a final spin at track that meant so much

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Defending champ Federer beats Djokovic to retain Dubai title

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Safarova beats Azarenka to win the Qatar Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Environmental activists disrupt meeting by Olympic officials

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Hamilton hones Mercedes with fastest time at F1 testing

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Thunder’s Russell Westbrook has surgery on cheekbone

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Anthony Mason, rugged forward of 1990s Knicks, dies at 48

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Warriors center Festus Ezeli suspended for a game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Reichelt leads Austrian World Cup downhill sweep

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Players’ union head: future spring games in Cuba possible

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Harrington takes 36-hole lead, then more rain in Florida

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Harvick wins Xfinity race at Atlanta for 3rd year in a row

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Stolen No. 44 NASCAR race car found in suburban Atlanta

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Business

For many in US, cash saved at gas pump is staying in pockets

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Fruits and vegetables get a star-studded marketing push

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Historic snows causing headaches for real estate industry

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Nevada casinos keep $953.7 million in winnings in January

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Recalls this week: hand trucks, ceiling fans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Review: Freedom! These smartwatches leave the phone behind

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

Greek prime minister rules out third bailout

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9

 
Boy, 13, builds Braille printer with Legos, starts company

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9Comments are off for this post

AP Exclusive: Fuel-hauling trains could derail at 10 a year

By The Associated Press | From Page: B12 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

Leah E. Hoffman

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Thomas Browning

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Jacqueline Mendes

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
John W. Van Wart

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Lester Singer

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Virgil Albert Hanson

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

.

Comics