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Springsteen serenade

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A lifelong love spawned decades ago when Clare Urban first saw Bruce Springsteen serenading women he plucked from the audience during a performance in Denver.

Urban now lives in Missoula and speaks in Springsteen lyrics. She's working on a dream, she says, to bring Bruce to her hometown.

"I'm doing this because of what Bruce can do for the souls of the Missoula community," Urban says. "I'm hoping 2011."

Urban's convinced a couple of friends to join her effort, and she says the group's making headway. They've been drumming up support with a blog (springsteeninmissoula.blogspot.com), Twitter feed and a Facebook page, as well as with regular radio appearances.

"So, basically, instead of cursing the darkness in this Bruce-less land, I'm going to do something about it," Urban says.

Marc Moss, another diehard fan, is among those helping out. He met Urban last winter at Snowbowl and, over a beer, discovered their shared devotion. "Going to see Springsteen is like going to church for me," Moss says.

Urban's idea to lure Springsteen started last September just before the rocker's 60th birthday. She found herself dismayed by a lack of attention leading up to the big day. "I thought, 'This can't go on,'" she says.

Taking it upon herself to mark the occasion, Urban watched Springsteen's Complete Video Anthology, gleaning knowledge about the Boss and his work. From there, she called local college radio station KBGA and asked if they would clear the airwaves for her to host an eight-day "Bruce Trivia Park Marathon." Station managers agreed and for varied intervals each day, she shared music, knowledge and prizes. The event culminated on Sept. 23, Bruce's birthday.

Urban is now wooing Missoula promoters and Bruce himself—she sent him a birthday card and plans to send a Christmas package—and she aims to host Springsteen radio segments on the 23rd of each month until he plays a Garden City gig.

To demonstrate community support and commercial viability, Urban asks locals to share their personal Springsteen stories on the group's blog.

"I'm just asking Bruce people to be true to their Bruce selves," she says, "and let their hearts show."

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