A Tribute to Luke Jorgensen

Luke Jorgensen and Roy Elkins at the inaugural Between the Waves Festival, June 2017

Luke Jorgensen and Roy Elkins at the inaugural Between the Waves Festival, June 2017

A Tribute to Luke Jorgensen

I’ve often said that we’re here on this Earth to help other people. When it comes to Luke Jorgensen, I truly felt I had a brother-in-arms in that spirit.

I last communicated with Luke on Friday, March 1st. He was of course, urging that we help someone. In this case, an area musician who had financial needs arising from a serious medical condition. We moved fast, got help for him swiftly, and the last communication from Luke was a thank you and a mailing address to get the funds out. And that was Luke, he got things done. In fact, I’m at a loss as to how we’ll get as many things done without him.

Luke had a lot on his plate, but it was a joyous plate; one he wouldn’t be eating from but would be sharing with those less fortunate or just in need of a helping hand. Here’s just one example: We were struggling with a fundraiser earlier this year. Out of the blue, Luke steps up to help. His encouragement, his ideas, his experience and his overwhelming sense of calm saved us. Then he offered to perform at the event – for free. We made sure they got paid! It seems like a small thing; a fundraiser in a mid-size town to help a community of artists; but it’s the small things in life that mean the most. Luke embodied that.

Luke’s optimism had a direct impact on me. He was always positive. With the world taking the turns that it has over the last year or so, I caught myself focusing on the negative. It was Luke who shined that light for me. It wasn’t direct; he never said anything to me about my frequently unbecoming reactions to the absurdities around us. He simply led by example.

Luke’s music was the aural equivalent of his spirit. The Lower 5th’s album was titled “Hope.” It always seemed apt when thinking of Luke and the family that was his band. Because when you got to know Luke, you became his family. It’s even more apt now in this terrible and completely unfair loss. But I know if Luke could reach us he would tell us to carry on; that the work we do is critical; that love and peace and hope are so important and we can never, ever let that die.

Luke’s last show was – naturally – a fundraiser. I heard that right after their set the band was overjoyed, feeling it was the best they had done. I’ve seen his band and I don’t doubt this because every time I saw them they excelled a bit further. They were able to unite a room full of random people in a way that only music can. But when you think about it, it’s not just the music, it’s the muse. The Lower 5th’s muse was one of pure joy and that is rare. Joy in the simple act – the small act – of just living and taking care of each other.

Take care Luke, wherever you are. I will miss you and I love you. And I vow to spread that love as far and wide as I’m able.


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About the author

Rick Tvedt

Rick is publisher of Local Sounds Magazine, formerly Rick's Cafe, Wisconsin's Regional Music Newspaper. He is also the Executive Director for MAMA, Inc., a non-profit organization that produces the Madison Area Music Awards and raises funds to promote youth music programs.

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One Comment

  1. Jan Torkildson
    March 5, 2018 at 10:55 pm

    This is heartbreaking news.

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