In Memoriam
Chris Aaron March 10, 1970 - October 15, 2014

With palpable sadness we add Chris' name to this page.
It hardly seems possible that he's gone so soon.
Hardly seems possible to have a Steel Bridge Songfest without him.
And here as we approach the 10th Anniversary, it seems so unjust,
so unfair, that he can't be here to celebrate this monumental landmark.

Chris was one of the original crew that dedicated heart, soul, sweat and endless time

into The Holiday Music Motel and Steel Bridge Songfest.
His talent, laughter, energy, spirit and hugs were fuel that kept things rolling along
even at the most challenging of times.

Dearest Chris,

We are all sending you our love.
We are missing you deeply.
We hope you will hear the music that we make
in your honor and in your memory.

-- Your Steel Bridge Songfest, Holiday Music Motel Family.



Activist, Dreamer, Friend,
Steel Bridge Core Volunteer...

Thank you Ellen, for your unstoppable spirit
and the unending hours of hard work you gave freely,
helping to make our little corner of the world a better place!

Ryan Collins
March 9, 1993 - June 12, 2012

Ryan was the sweetest kid. Loved music, worked hard,
loved his mother. Seeing the two of them together, it
was obvious; they were the best of friends.
Had an amazing way of seeing the world
and an amazing way of putting those views into words.

Ryan came to The Holiday Music Motel several times
to read his poetry and we were always moved
and so proud. The Jazz Musicians (below)
is one of his works.

During Steel Bridge Songfest 2012, Ryan helped
serve the crowds during the weekend.

He was so devoted. He so loved the music.

Two days after the fest ended, we were shocked to
hear that this young man had left this world.
We had not yet had the chance to really thank
him for his devoted support of the fest so we hope
in some way, we are able to thank him here.

Ryan, we appreciate all that you did and, moreso, that
you allowed us into your life even if it was just for a short
amount of a time.

The Jazz Musicians

The Jazz musicians swing their tunes,
like a kung-fu master whips bamboo into oblivion….
until it breaks in two.
Three beboppers make the notes come to life
in whirling dervishes of colors and hues
floating around the juke-joint like seductive parachutes.
The emcee’s breath control pronounces each word as a falling grudge.
With great tenacity he flows to the beat,
like drum-roll behind the shuffling of Bojangle’s feet.
He holds the mic as if it was a vice,
punching metaphors like they were his foe.
His flow ricochets off the crowd,
instilling images as he just lets go.
The bluesman relishes his hurt into the strings.
Bent over his steel guitar,
he wails to kingdom come,
yodeling plaintively to what is not there,
nor is real.
He delves into his world of chords,
and through his exorcism pays no mind
as he jumps off the deep board.
Drinking corn liquor as if in search of a fairy at the bottom of the bottle,
he plays and plays and plays…..
until he is no more.

-- Ryan Collins
Billy Triplett
May 4, 1957 - August 11, 2013

photo by Ty Helbach
Click photo for article in Door County Living Magazine

Billy was one of our main sound engineers
for every event since 2009.
Throughout that time, he recorded countless
numbers of songs and worked with 100s
of artists from all over the globe.

He was our our friend, our family, the dearest
heart, the funniest joke teller,
the loving prankster.
He changed our lives forever,
and for that we are eternally grateful.

We miss you.

1962 - 2009

Treasured friend and family member of
Steel Bridge SongFest. 
His music will live on in the heart of Steel Bridge.


Rocco embodied the pure spirit of rock-n-roll:
Reckless, outrageous, devout, dead-on-the-money.

His performances could scare and charm you all at once.

On guitar, he could make one note sound mean and sweet.
And, like all good friends, he could do the same in life.

He was a mad, wild rocker, and a loving person.

He was a bull in a china shop.
He was also the china shop.

Last time he came to Steel Bridge,
he rode the Greyhound from Rochester, NY.
This time, he'll ride the Mystery Train
from the great beyond.

Forever, we'll proudly carry his spirit forward
in our minds, hearts and music.

Starting in 2009, our fifth year of Steel Bridge,
and continuing for as long as guitars have strings,
an annual night of rock at the Red Room
will henceforth be known as "Rocco, Rock On!"

Stalk the Steel Bridge website for more details as they emerge!

xo, pat mAcdonald