Local music maker Keefe Klug cuts sharp and soulful pop tracks with his band, the Surgical Precision, and he's also got a soft spot for good works. By day, he lends his talents to REACH a Child, a Madison-area nonprofit that distributes books to kids caught in stressful situations like fires, car accidents and domestic strife. As director of the organization's child witness program, he equips tots who testify in court with imaginative stories that transport their minds to a place far from the trauma they've experienced.
Klug's introduction to REACH a Child was musical. The program's founders - local children's author Paul Gilbertson and his wife, Chris, a nurse - recruited him for the position when they saw him perform at a charity show with his roommate, Lucas Cates.
A 2003 graduate of West High School and a finalist in 105.5 FM's Project M songwriting contest in 2010, Klug has cultivated a sizable fan base over the past several years. Recognizing the value of this network, and knowing about Madison's collective musical chops, he organized Rock with REACH, a recording project that highlights the city's song-crafting talents while raising funds to put books in local kids' hands via police, firefighters, hospital workers and emergency medical technicians.
Finding musicians to participate was a snap, Klug says, especially since community outreach is such a popular Madison pastime. "I asked like 20 people to join in the first day I was working on it, and I got 18 responses back within about 24 hours," he says.
Rock with REACH teems with local contributors, including Whitney Mann, Anna Laube and Sleeping in the Stereo. Some of the CD's stars - Beth Kille, J.T. Roach, the Lower 5th, Charlie Kim, Sam Osborne and Klug himself - will perform at an acoustic showcase Saturday, Jan. 21, at the Brink Lounge. In addition to buying the album at the show, fans can support REACH a Child by donating money through the organization's website, reachachild.org, or by volunteering at its book warehouse in Middleton.
Passionate about giving, Klug participates in charity shows every few months and speaks about them with gusto. "Ever since I started playing music, one out of every five or six shows has been for charity, whether it's a local organization like Porchlight or a national one like Gilda's Club," he says. "As a local musician, you rely on your community to support you, so it's sort of your duty to give back however you can."