Every cloud has a silver lining.
Out of the dark grey cloud of Eau Claire Memorial High School junior Zach Caterer’s life-threatening spinal cord injury this summer, the silver lining comes in the form of a close bond developed with Eau Claire resident and musician Jon Peterson.
The two met a couple years ago through working with the organization Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
They quickly formed a tight bond that served to only grow closer after Caterer’s Aug. 3 diving accident, which left him hospitalized for more than a month.
Feeling helpless, Peterson said he began to think of things he could do for the family, and his mind kept landing on music.
“He 100 percent to me feels like a brother. So I thought, ‘Zach’s been through a lot, his family’s been through a lot,’ ” Peterson said. “How can I use my gifts, skills and the talents I have to help the family, bring the community together?”
Out of that came “Twas the Night,” a Christmas rock ’n’ roll concert featuring Peterson’s band Lindale and Nashville-based Remedy Drive. It all goes down at 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, at Peace Church, 501 E. Filmore Ave. Tickets to the show are $20, and all proceeds will go toward Caterer’s Royal Credit Union account titled Friends of Zachary.
Caterer’s mom, Susan, said those funds go toward his medical bills from his hospital stay as well as the continued therapy and recovery process. Susan Caterer said other friends have held events to raise funds for the account, such as T-shirt sales, a spaghetti feed and an auction, but she was touched when she heard Peterson’s idea.
“My initial thought when he asked us if we would be OK with it was, ‘That sounds really exciting,’ especially around the holidays,” she said. “We’ve been through roller coaster rides the last four months, so to have something that’s going to be fun and lighthearted, we’re really looking forward to it.”
In addition to the RCU account, one of Zach Caterer’s YoungLife leaders also created a “Zachary’s Road to Recovery” GoFundMe account with a goal of reaching $100,000. As of Thursday, $12,718 has been raised. Those funds also are deposited into the Friends of Zachary account, Susan Caterer said.
More than the money, though, Zach and Susan Caterer agreed they were looking forward to a night out and a way to celebrate the season. Zach Caterer added he had made some music requests for the show.
“I’m really excited,” he said. “If you know Jonny personally, you know it’s going to be a blast. Everything he does is eventful.”
The show will consist of a set from alternative rock band Remedy Drive, which Peterson describes as “loud, bombastic, dirty rock.” The group’s members aim to use their music to promote causes they care about, such as ending sex trafficking, according to their website. The band’s albums reflect those causes, and the group’s merchandise is made by survivors of sex trafficking.
Peterson said Remedy Drive will be playing a straight rock show, while his new band, Lindale, will perform rock ’n’ roll arrangements of contemporary Christmas tunes.
“It’s definitely going to have the feel of a rock show — not a sit-down-and-watch kind of thing,” he said.
At its core remains Peterson’s original goal: To bring people together and give the Caterer family another reason to smile this holiday season.
He is hopeful for a night of the type of community that can only be found when strangers, friends and family gather around to sing Christmas carols. And he hopes people sing along.
“I know they still have medical bills, but even aside from the monetary part of it, I really love how music brings people together,” Peterson said. “So for two hours, I hope that on some level (the Caterers) can just block out all of the logistics of having Zach back at home, continuing therapy, and just kind of escape and enjoy the music.”