Michael Morales plays Rockhoppers for Missing Persons

No musician ever said music could save the world, but there are some who would like to try.

No musician ever said music could save the world, but there are some who would like to try.

There are now more than 10,000 entertainers who are part of a program that seeks to find the world’s missing persons.

Michael Morales is a Seattle singer/songwriter who has signed on with the GINA for Missing Persons Foundation, a nonprofit organization that uses entertainment to create awareness and media attention for missing persons worldwide.

Morales will perform at Rockhoppers Cafe in Clinton from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 16.

In the course of his performance, Morales will tell the audience to be on the lookout for Valerie du Laney, a 42-year-old woman who disappeared from Seattle on Sept. 9, 2005.

The GINA for Missing Persons Foundation was created by performer Janel Rap in honor of her sister, Gina Bos, who disappeared from Lincoln, Neb. in October 2000 after an open-mic performance.

Her case had no scandal or suspect; she simply vanished. And with no media hook, it became her family’s challenge to create ways to gain attention for her and the thousands of people who simply vanish each year.

“My sister disappeared eight years ago and I asked my friends to help me,” Rap said. “I decided to start a nonprofit, and I kept meeting artists who wanted to help out.”

Now there are a stream of events sponsored by the GINA organization, including the Squeaky Wheel Tour of more than 100 artists who tour separately throughout the world in honor of missing persons.

The tour begins on Oct. 17, the day Bos disappeared, and runs through Nov. 4, her birthday. Rap’s band “Clementine” will headline for the 19-day tour.

Additionally, the GINA foundation has produced the TV shows “Finding Gina” and “America Lost and Found,” as well as the “Look, Listen and Pass it On” DVD and an international Webcast featuring missing persons from around the globe called “The GINA Sessions” that airs on the third Saturday of each month.

Morales’ involvement with GINA and the missing persons program came from a friend who had met Rap and introduced him to the program.

To date, about 60 people, who could not be found by the FBI or police and were profiled by the GINA organization, have been found.

“Their endeavor and their success stories touched me in a way that I wanted to help,” Morales said. “I think for me, it adds to and compliments the music I am playing. I love the thought that through my musical efforts, I can maybe help someone be found that a family or loved one is grieving over. This, in a way, adds to my purpose: to affect people in the most positive way I can.”

Morales said the running theme in his music is hope and healing, so it makes perfect sense that he would be a player for the cause.

“I really believe the world needs that now more than ever,” he said. “I want the listener to feel a sense of hope and healing, laughter and fun when they come and see me.”

Morales said the songs he writes reflect myriad influences including blues, jazz, soul, funk, Americana, folk, pop rock, Tin Pan Alley, world music and classical.

“I try to make the songs I write have percussive beats and dynamics that may not be ordinary to acoustic music, and I try to balance a meaningful message with the art of poetry. Songwriters are poets, too. I guess I miss that in some of today’s music.”

But now the music has taken on an even larger meaning for Morales.

Morales said that musicians are assigned a missing person who lives in their area. The musician passes out information and pictures at each show, describes the program briefly and discusses the person he or she is trying to help locate. The hope is the audience will take that information and help find the missing person.

Gina Bos’ sister has found a new calling in life beyond entertaining people.

“When we arrive for a show it’s profound,” Rap said. “People related to missing persons see us as the cavalry and we know we’re on the right track.”

To find out more about the GINA for Missing Persons Foundation visit www.411Gina.org.

To hear Morales’ music, visit myspace.com/unfinishedlips.

Patricia Duff can be reached at 221-5300 or pduff@southwhidbey


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