CFCA shines a light on poverty at benefit concert
September 26, 2011
Bob Hentzen, center, CFCA president and co-founder, performs
during Shine a Light, a CFCA benefit concert. The concert took
place Sept. 25 at The Theatre in the Park in Shawnee, Kan.
Hentzen was accompanied by Paul Pearce, left, CFCA director
of global strategy, and musician Rick Willoughby.
They came with lawn chairs, blankets, sun hats and coolers. About 500 friends of CFCA soaked up sunshine, good music and inspiring stories at Shine a Light, the organization's first benefit concert Sept. 25 at The Theatre in the Park in Shawnee, Kan.
The event celebrated the organization's 30th anniversary and sought to create awareness of global poverty in the Kansas City community using the universal language of music.
"Music has always been a part of CFCA," said CFCA President and Co-founder Bob Hentzen during the opening act. "If you look around the world, our people are gathered for prayer and they are gathered to sing."
Hentzen peppered his performance with stories from Walk2gether, an 8,000-mile solidarity walk through 12 Latin American countries. Hentzen, his wife, Cristina, and a core walk team completed the trek last June in Valparaiso, Chile.
The concert showcased Kansas City's musical talent with Nate Gawron and Friends and headliner Barclay Martin and the Barclay Martin Ensemble.
El Grupo Folklorico Atotonilco, a Mexican folk dance company,
performs at the concert.
Gawron's heartwarming style of bluegrass, folk and Americana tunes had young and old clapping and tapping. Gawron and band member Phil Wade are from the internationally acclaimed band The Wilders.
Martin, a longtime friend of CFCA, entertained and inspired the crowd with stories about his sponsorship and songs from Rise and Dream, a documentary produced by CFCA and currently being submitted to film festivals.
Also performing were El Grupo Folklorico Atotonilco, a Mexican folk dance company, the Sampaguita Choir, a Filipino vocal ensemble, and World Percussion Ensemble, a group of student musicians from the Kansas City Academy.
The evening drew friends from near and far. Walt and Lois Silvernale, who sponsor two children through CFCA, drove nearly 200 miles from Wichita, Kan., with their daughters and grandchildren.
"I wouldn't have missed this for the world," Walt said.
'That personal relationship'
Between musical acts, the audience listened to compelling testimonies and multimedia promoting sponsorship as a viable means of helping families break the cycle of poverty. The stories motivated some to sign up to sponsor a child at sponsorship tables throughout the park.
"The hardest thing of all is to choose just one," Tom of Westwood Hills, Kan., said. "I'd take all of them if I could." Tom and his wife, Becky, decided to sponsor 10-year-old Deepan from India.
Performers, from left, are Paul Pearce, Barclay
Martin, Nate Gawron and Bob Hentzen.
John Allemang from Kearney, Mo., chose 5-year-old April from the Philippines because of a special connection. His father earned a Purple Heart in the Philippines during World War II, and Allemang visited the country in 1987.
After visiting each table, Gay Colliton of Overland Park decided to wait a month before she sponsors. She wants to sponsor a girl from Bolivia for her 9-year-old daughter, adopted from there.
"She thought we were adopting," Colliton said. "I want to make sure she understands that sponsorship is different from that, but I still want her to have that personal relationship with that child, to know that there's someone else in another country that needs our help."
Colliton said the concert served as a good reminder of the people far away who need extra help.
With the sun setting in a clear sky, all performers joined Martin onstage for the final song, "Shine a Light," an original piece Martin composed for the event. The lively composition brought the audience to its feet.
"I wanted to make something that was joyous, inviting everybody to sing, just to share the idea that we're all in this together," Martin said.