GREENVILLE, Ky. (4/24/14) — Street Heat is a group of highly talented musicians, who have now performed before well over a million people.

The group is made up of all first responders, and includes dedicated men and women from the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, the Louisville Metro Police Department, the Louisville Fire Department, the Bullit County Detention Center and even the Jeffersontown Police and Fire Departments in southern Indiana.

This Saturday Street Heat will bring their unique anti-drug and anti-gang message of music to the first ever Muhlenberg Safety Awareness Day in downtown Greenville. The awareness day was organized by the new safety task force that formed in the wake of the tragic Watson family fire in January. Lt. Col. Carl Yates, of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, coordinates the group's activities. Yates spoke with SurfKY News about the purpose of Street Heat.

"Our whole reason for being is to spread the message to our youth through music to say no to drugs and to also say no to gangs and violence. There's lots of programs created by various law enforcement agencies that do this, but we feel like we can get the message across in a different way. We do it with music. I've been in charge of the band since it came under the umbrella of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department in 2004."

Although Street Heat try to entertain and inform all ages, Yates said their main focus is on third and fourth grade students.

"What we try to do is reach middle school students," Yates said. "That makes us unique. We know we may not have the same appeal to senior high students. It's not that the others don't need these messages. We are just targeting those who are a bit younger. We try to reach them with that anti-drug message before they have that first encounter. We are more successful this way. We try to concentrate on the music this age group is listening to. And that changes every two or three weeks. Sometimes it's country, sometimes rock. Wagon Wheel was a big song, Dynamite is a very popular rock song. We try to mix the show up with rock, country, rap, and hip hop."

Yates said he tries to keep up with what songs are most popular among Street Heat's target audience, and he said that can be tricky.

"We try to make the program not only interesting for them but meaningful," Yates said. "Between songs we are delivering a message to segue way into the next song. Right now the song, Let It Go, from the Disney movie Frozen is an enormous favorite. I told the members that we have got to work this up, because every third, fourth and fifth grader in the US is singing that song. You may only get through three or four notes and they start singing along with it. You know when they are singing with you, you've got them. You know you are in the right key."

Yates noted that the group has performed several times in Muhlenberg County over it's more than twenty years together.

"We used to perform in the Muhlenberg Ag and Convention Center," Yates said. "We were a little concerned when we first got there because we had never set up on the ground before. But it turned out to have some of the best acoustics of anywhere we have performed. In our more recent visits to Muhlenberg County, we have performed at Martin Hall It is a truly wonderful venue. We hope there will be a lot of kids to come out for the show this Saturday. We'll probably stick to our basic program, because we hope that a lot of our target age will bring their older brothers and sisters and parents."

Saturday's event begins at 10 a.m. and will run until 2 p.m. This will be the first ever Muhlenberg Safety Awareness Day, and will include information booths on fire safety and weather safety, along with boating, hunting, and other forms of types of safety awareness information. There will be prizes, food booths and music from Street Heat.

Paul McRee
SurfKY News

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