MORGAN PARK — Bruce Anderson is a bass-playing dad who dabbles on the harmonica. His son, Michael, is a resident of Misericordia.
Their two worlds will come together at the "Rockin for Mis" fundraiser from 8-11 p.m. Saturday at the Beverly Arts Center. Anderson's classic rock band, The Operators, will play along with the gospel choir from Trinity United Church of Christ and the Breakfast Club, a high-energy '80s band.
Bruce Anderson, 55, of suburban Evergreen Park hopes the 400-seat theater at 2407 W. 111th St. is near capacity on Saturday. The proceeds from the musical event will be given to Misericordia — a community for children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities.
Michael Anderson, 30, has lived on Misericordia's 31-acre campus in West Rogers Park since 2005. He works in the recycling center, helps out with the children as a teacher's aide and enjoys painting. Some of his paintings have sold for as much as $600 in Misericordia's annual art auction, said his mother, Joan Anderson.
Bruce Anderson would often play the bass guitar for his four children when they were younger. Michael is the oldest child. He has three younger sisters. Michael's favorite song is Rick Springfield's "Jessie's Girl," but Bruce Anderson plans to leave that tune to the '80s band.
"I really like to play "Mojo" for Mike, because he's such a lady's man," Bruce Anderson said.
Indeed, Michael has a girlfriend at Misericordia. He also lives independently and is a model for other residents, many of whom aren't as high functioning. Michael doesn't have Down syndrome. He's just a little slow, said Joan Anderson, saying her son was just as excited for Christmas this year as he was in second grade.
"It's just like having a little kid around," Joan Anderson said of Michael, who spent 14 years on the Misericordia's waiting list.
Bruce and Joan Anderson both attended St. John Fisher Elementary School in Beverly and have deep roots on the Southwest Side. They expect a good crowd on Saturday and plan to make "Rockin for Mis" an annual event with changing musical themes. They're already considering a country music theme next year.
The one thing that will remain constant is the Anderson family's support for Michael and his fellow residents at Misericordia.
"The people there are the happiest people you will ever meet," Bruce Anderson said.