Call Betty Green a public service performer.
Since she organized Mother's Band and Show 10 years ago, the group that includes Green playing bass guitar has made at least 600 free performances at hospitals, nursing homes, schools and prisons throughout the Washington area.
"This is my mission," said Green, a Southeast resident.
Green said the band is a key ingredient in her family life. Her husband Ralph F. Green is manager; daughter Vonnye, 18, is a trumpet player and vocalist, and daughter Robin, 25, is lead vocalist. Son Spencer, 29, who plays bass, is newly married and taking a break from the band.
The extended family of band members ranges in age from 17 to 51. It includes keyboard player and percussionist Michael Hill, a student at the Duke Ellington School for the Arts; guitarist/vocalist Tye Campbell, who also is the group's arranger; drummer Edward Anderson, a music teacher at Hine Junior High School; saxophone player Dave DiPaolo; guitarist Calvin Moore Jr.; bass guitarist Emory Diggs; guitarist Rick Williams, and conga drummer Lino Druitt.
Also "in the family" are occasional band members such as pianist/trombonist John M. Buchanan Jr., who teaches at Kelly Miller Junior High; Horace Brock, a keyboard player who also operates the band's sound system, and saxophonist Roger Lee. Larry Collins is stage manager, and Charles Butler is disc jockey and light man.
To celebrate the band's 10th anniversary, Green decided to pay homage to her roots, taking the band and show on the road to her native Charles County, Md., where they entertained an audience of nursing home residents.
During the program, Green gave special thanks in the form of a plaque to her foster mother, Mary Brown of nearby Pisgah.
Green said she was one of about 60 foster children raised over the past 30 years by Brown, who is in her seventies.
Jeff Krulik, public access director for Metrovision Cable, is helping the band commemorate its 10th anniversary by filming a documentary on the group for the southern Prince George's County cable system.
Krulik, who treks to performances with camera equipment in tow, has become an honorary band member, at times joining the group on stage to play drums.
Krulik said he has been trying to capture on film the chemistry Green has developed with her band and with her audiences.
"She's one of a kind. She's got a huge heart and . . . a real good feeling for helping people and that's her priority."
Green said that the public service aspect of her mission is not without its problems. Mother's Band is a nonprofit organization, which last year received a $10,000 grant from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities.
The grant was contingent on matching contributions. Those contributions did not come, forcing Green and company to forfeit $5,000 of the grant recently.
On the average, Green said, a show by the band costs about $900 to produce -- salaries, transportation and costumes.
The band performs 10 to 12 shows annually through its for-profit Family Productions Inc., and according to Green, much of the profit from those shows goes into the production of nonprofit shows.
Green said a request that the band perform free at one of the city's Lorton Reformatory facilities is on hold until the organization finds some funds.
But despite the money problems, the band and its performances at nursing homes, prisons and hospitals continue to be a priority -- even if she has to pay band members out of her own pocket, Green said.
"The band's been a pretty good part of our life. I love helping people."