‘American Idol’ singer’s band features Minooka drummer
By Kris Stadalsky For The Herald-News April 10, 2011 6:26PM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
Even if you are not an “American Idol” viewer, you can’t help but be moved by the story of singer Chris Medina and his fiancé Juliana Ramos of Oak Forest.
Medina appeared on American Idol back in January. He blew away the judges with his a cappella version of “Breakeven” by The Script. He made Jennifer Lopez cry when he was cut in February.
Medina shared the story of his undying love for fiancee Juliana. After being together eight years, just two months before they were to exchange wedding vows, Juliana was in a horrific car accident that left her paralyzed and severely injured her brain.
Medina and Ramos’ mother now care for her. There are daily physical therapy sessions and grueling work for Juliana. Medina is right by her side. He touched hearts all over the world when he said, “What kind of a guy would I be if I walked out on her when she needed me most?”
Now the star, along with two other “American Idol” contestants that were cut from the show, and Minooka resident Matt Sebby, the drummer for Medina’s band The Able Body, are holding one of many benefits for Juliana at a venue called 115 Bourbon Street in Merrionette Park.
Sebby, a 1998 Minooka High School graduate, played drums most of his life. He was in the drum line all four years at Minooka High.
He met Medina last summer through an Craigslist ad seeking a drummer for The Able Body. He found out that he and Medina had friends in common.
Three members of the group The Able Body went to high school with the lead singer of another band Sebby plays with called No Direction. That lead singer went to high school and Columbia University in Chicago with Medina.
“(No Direction’s lead singer) encouraged me to meet these guys,” Sebby said. “I auditioned and right there on the spot told me it worked for them.”
Shortly after Sebby joined the band, Medina got the call to audition for “American Idol.” They haven’t played any gigs as The Able Body yet, so the upcoming benefit, A Benefit With a View, will be their first public appearance.
“This is the first gig since all that started,” Sebby said. “All the money goes to Juliana’s recovery.”
Also performing at the benefit at Bourbon Street are Rob Bolin and Tim Halperin, who TMZ facetiously calls the “Idol rejects.”
Medina will perform his single “What Are Words,” which was written for Juliana and has reached the top 20s of the most downloaded iTunes songs and No. 83 on the Billboard Top 100, Sebby said. Medina also will sing a newly released single.
The Able Body will play, of course, with Sebby on the drums.
Benefit with a View will be from 5 to 11 p.m. Wednesday at 115 Bourbon Street, 3359 W. 115th St in Merrionette Park. Admission costs $25 for those 13 and up and $15 for kids 5-12. It includes a full buffet and soda — and wine and beer for those 21 and older. There will be raffles and Wednesday’s “American Idol” will be shown on the big screen.
Tickets can be purchased on Facebook. Search for the “Benefit with a View” page.
Those without Facebook can search “Chris Medina benefit” to find it.
As of Friday, 472 people had purchased tickets for the event. But the venue is big and can hold a lot of people.
If you missed the “American Idol” episodes or just want to find out what the buzz is all about, watch Medina on “American Idol” through YouTube, www.billboard.com or Access Hollywood.
Make sure to watch his interview, not just his performance. Even if you aren’t an “Idol” fan, you will love this heartbreaking story of our time.
Reach Kris Stadalsky at firstname.lastname@example.org.