On Dec. 2, a live audience will wait in anticipation for the first few notes of a Dan Fogelberg song. Though the music will be good enough to get them up out of their seats, the voice singing the notes will belong to Steve Rodman.
Rodman, now an entrepreneur and business owner, worked as a locomotive engineer for 31 years, but he's always had a keen ear for music.
"Very early on as a child, music soothed me. My aunt Irene bought me a transistor radio with the single little ear bud," Rodman said. "I loved her so much for that as it brought memuch personal joy."
It wasn't long until Rodman was doing more than listening to music.
"I remember well miming to a Beatles 45 record in my neighbor Tommy Tiernan's house and dreaming of being on stage someday," he said.
Rodman said his family had a large role in his developing affinity for music. As one of seven children, Rodman was exposed to the varying musical tastes of all of his siblings as well as his parents' strong love of country music.
"My mother had a great love of music, although not a musician," he said. "I truly believe that is where it comes from for me. I didn't know my father well, but I am told he had a good voice and a whimsy way about him in such things."
Eventually Rodman learned to play the harmonica and the guitar, the latter of which he continually practices.
"There are two new guitars out there somewhere, along with some other equipment, waiting to live with me after the first of the year," he said.
With his clear passion for music and strong vocals, Rodman's ability to play his own instruments is purely a bonus. Since starting out singing at weddings and funerals, Rodman's music has taken a more professional turn.
After beginning to develop his music on his own, Rodman formed his current band called Rodman, Wait, Palmer and Hoaks. The group has recorded two albums and is working on a third.
Considering his local success as a musician, it might come as a surprise that Rodman's ability to hit the right notes and deliver a soulful concert to a live audience did not come through a formal music education.
"I have no formal training save for a few voice lessons with Champaign's very own Brad Jenks," Rodman said. "Being in my band and jamming with others has been a great help for me to learn and grow."
Despite Rodman's insistence that his music and career leave him little time for much else, including listening to his contemporaries on the radio, there is another cause to which he devotes himself: Much in the style of his music idols, John Denver and Dan Fogelberg, his next concert with his band will be part of a larger benefit concert.
"Their desire to better mankind and preserve the Earth parallels my own beliefs," Rodman said. "It has always impressed me their willingness to give back to the degree that they did. John Denver had three or four foundations that he ended up supporting himself."
Rodman, Wait, Palmer and Hoaks will perform Dec. 2 at Danville High School along with several other bands, community members and Fogelberg tribute artists to raise money for Provena's Regional Cancer Center. Donating proceeds to cancer treatment seems particularly fitting based on the musical genre.
"We lost Dan Fogelberg to prostate cancer," Rodman said. "In the Fogelberg world, it is a given to donate proceeds in his name."
And Rodman has a more personal connection with cause.
"I lost my sister to breast cancer at the age of 47. My brother will undergo cancer surgery the day after my show," he said. "My father-in-law has battled cancer for many years. So I have been touched by this ugly thing called cancer and want to give back in their names.
"The Provena Foundation has given so much to our community and I want to thank them for all their support and faith in me along with all my sponsors."
Despite the somber reality behind the fundraiser, Rodman promises an uplifting, fun show.
"A fun loving and faithful group of folks that warm my heart each time I see them in the audience," he said. "I so appreciate and admire how they always seem to show up and support my band.
"Please understand that you don't have to know the music of these two men to enjoy what you will experience Dec. 2. Those of you that do will not be disappointed. We are going to have some fun!"
If you go
Who: Rodman, Wait, Palmer and Hoaks plus plenty of other guests
When: 2 to 4:30 p.m. Dec. 2
Where: Danville High School
Tickets: $15 in advance (also available at the door, through the David S. Palmer Arena Box Office in person, online at http://www.palmerarena.com , or by phone at 877-77-CLICK)
Of note: Seating is limited; all proceeds from the event go directly to the Provena Regional Cancer Center through the Provena United Samaritans Medical Center Foundation
More info: http://www.steverodmanmusic.com