On December 29, 2017 at Headliners Music Hall, WFPK and Motherlodge will present The Battle Of Queens which will take place to benefit Strive, a 501(c)(3) non-profit creative wellness organization. The Battle Of Queens will feature over 40 Louisville musicians who will form FOUR bands for the evening, each representing a distinct class of Queenness: Country, Pop/Rock, Soul and Drag.

Hosted by Hurricane Summers (Voted #1 Drag Queen by Leo Weekly readers) and organized by Strive’s Nina Rodahaffer, Cheyenne Mize, and Ray Rizzo of Motherlodge, The Battle Of Queens will continue a three-year holiday tradition of staging a mock band battle that builds community and fellowship. Participating musicians and performers include:

The Queens of Country: Brian Cronin (Villebillies), Jose Oreta (Appalatin), Craig Wagner, Amos Hopkins, Cheyenne Mize, Alexander Udis, Katie Peabody, Heather Summers, Rebecca Minnick, Tyler Lance Walker Gill.

The Queens of Drag : Jade Jolie (LEO Weekly Reader’s Poll #2 Drag Queen), Hurricane Summers (LEO Weekly Reader’s Poll #1 Drag Queen), Salena Filichia (Killii Killii), Brett Holzclaw (Wanda Jackson, The Get Down), Jyn Yates, Ray Rizzo (Josh Ritter), Robert McFarland, Natalie Felker (The Fervor), Scott Carney (Wax Fang), Scott Mertz (Your News Vehicles), and Lou Lou Reed.

The Queens Of Rock : Van Campbell (Bonnie “Prince” Billy), Scott Anthony (“Once” The Musical), Kimmet Cantwell (Kimmet and Doug, Back 2 Mac), Malcolm McLaughlin, Jeremy Johnson, Clint Newman, Juliana Rodriguez, Jorge Ruiz (Yapa), Jacqui Blue, and Alanna Fugate.

The Queens Of Soul : Carly Johnson, JD Green (Afrophysicists), Jimmy Brown (Bo Deco), Bob Ramsey (Merry Pranksters), Tyrone Cotton, Nina Rodahaffer, Asly Toro, Chris Rodahaffer (Roadie, Bonnie “Prince” Billy), Mike Smith, Ted Richardson.

We recently spoke with Cheyenne Mize from Strive to tell us more about her organization and the upcoming event:

What is your role at Strive 502 and how does the organization help others?
Nina Rodahaffer and I are Co-Executive Directors. We design and facilitate creative wellness experiences for organizations, facilities, and the Louisville community- which is a fancy way of saying we help connect people to themselves and others through music and other creative art forms. Examples are doing music groups at Gilda’s Club Louisville as part of the Arts Inspiring Hope initiative for youth affected by breast cancer, doing intergenerational music groups at the Neighborhood House with seniors and preschoolers, and working with Metro Community Centers to design community music experiences for their specific sites.

For the last few years, you’ve been doing some really creative benefit concerts for Strive and this year sounds really good too with the Battle of The Queens. Can you explain the concept for the concert and how you all came up with this idea?
Ray Rizzo (our Board President) is the master of creative concert experiences, having done many of these with the Motherlodge Live Arts Exchange over the years (JC Superstar, etc.). The three of us came up with the idea of staging a (mock) battle of cover bands to make it a little more exciting than just your run-of-the-mill tribute show. The “competition” definitely helps the teams step it up a bit, but in the end everyone wins. I have to say, this year is the most exciting yet. We’ve split about 40 local musicians into 4 bands, each representing queens of a certain genre. All of these groups are total knock outs and I can’t wait to see how it all turns out. Hurricane Summers is also one of my favorite local performers, so having her host is icing on the cake!

How do these benefit concerts help Strive?
Much of the work we do is subsidized by grants, donations, and fundraising events such as this one. We wouldn’t be able to do this work without the generous support of our friends, families, and everyone who has pitched in one way or another. The concert itself is also a reflection of our core values at Strive and what we aim to achieve with our work- getting people in a room from different backgrounds, generations, worldviews, etc. to make some motherlovin’ music! You’d be hard pressed to find a more diverse group of musicians on any stage in Louisville and that’s the way we like it.