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Monday, August 26, 2013

Concert For The Cause

Concert For The Cause:
Featuring Uche & the Crash and Nick McEwen & the 33
Avenue A Park
Hutchinson, KS
© Lydia Lowe 2013

     Concert For The Cause is nearing the end of its summer run for this year and Saturday night was a perfect time, to move past the flash and just break out the rock and roll show.  The band Uche and the Crash were more than willing to provide the music.

     The band took the stage at 7:30 p.m. as the crowds began to gather, and the humid air was replaced with a cooling breeze.  Bob Colladay introduced the band and plugged the corporate sponsors, even taking one for the team.  Bob’s a confirmed vegetarian but told the crowd he was more than willing to eat hotdogs for charity.   Apparently most of the audience was willing to do the same.  

Headed to the grill to purchase and eat more hotdogs for charity

      Uche and the Crash got the crowd settled in with their first song and by the second song, Vertigo, the park was rocking.  Everyone was on their feet, dancing and singing along with the band.  As the park began to darken and the stage lights came up on the stage, it was one song after another leading into the band’s version of Tainted Love, which got a standing ovation.  Truly the crowd never seemed to sit down while the band played.  Some of the songs were familiar and some weren’t, but the unfamiliar ones are destined to become favorites.  Uche and the Crash gave a stellar performance.

     Then it was time for Nick McEwen and the 33 to take the stage.  It’s hard to narrow down the style of the 33 but they were highly entertaining and worth a listen.  Clearly these guys have been playing together for a while and are well known in the area.  Their style is very polished and professional.   This is a band that’s going places.

Nick McKuen and the 33 meet their fans
      The featured non-profit cancelled at the last minute and catSnip, the spay and neuter group from the week before, stepped in and grilled the hamburgers and hotdogs.  This organization made $350 at their first event and Saturday’s event I’m sure proved to be just a profitable.

     Next week’s concert will feature the bands 12 Years Coming and Tall, Hairy and Charming.  The featured non-profit will be the Special Olympics.  This is the last concert for the summer season but I have it on good authority to watch for one final concert after the Kansas State Fair.  This will be a “thank you” concert and will feature some special prizes and giveaways.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Concert For The Cause

 Concert For The Cause:
Featuring Marshall Matthews, Katie Berry, A6, 
Prayer Bones, and Creeping Shadows
Avenue A Park
Hutchinson, KS
© Lydia Lowe 2013

     Anyone who says that Elvis is dead obviously didn't make it to Saturday's concert in Avenue A Park.  From what I could see on Saturday night, Elvis is alive and well!  Marshall Matthews performed as Elvis and did him proud.  

     He had the look and the talent to convince a park full of people to suspend reality, even if just for a little while, and take in the spectacle, the sight, the sound of Elvis re-born.  Marshall took us back there to a time and place where Elvis was alive and well, singing for the masses, with all the classic songs.  If you missed seeing this performance, you missed a step back in time and a terrific concert performance.
Load in before the show
      This week's concert began at 6:30 p.m. due to the amount of talent featured.  Even though the time change wasn't formerly announced, that didn't stop the crowds from staking out their spots early and being in place just in case the music broke out sooner than expected.  Good thing too, since the concert took off early.

      A6 opened the evening and I enjoyed their version of the Snow Patrol hit, Chasing Cars.  A6 harmonized well with each other and had such great chemistry on stage.  I've seen bands who play great together but they don't have that vibe where you know they just genuinely enjoy being together.  A6 on stage is like having a couple of talented guys that you hang out with who also happen to sing well and provide a soundtrack to your life.   

     Katie Berry, Creeping Shadows and Prayer Bones rounded out the night.  The talent on this night was incredible.  It was a great night to be out and about, sitting in the park with good friends and listening to truly incredible music.  Who knew Hutchinson and the surrounding communities had such talented musicians.  

     This night's cause was the catSnip project which is promoting spaying and neutering of cats and dogs.  The group brought a Sphynx cat with them named Spellma from the animal shelter.  She had on the cutest little pink sweater.   Besides the usual pop/water, hamburgers/hotdogs, and chips there were t-shirts featuring the slogan "I"m into S & N" (spay and neuter) as well as a variety of other fundraising opportunities, like pet the cat for a quarter.  
There were a lot of different sorts of "cats" in the park on Saturday night
      Truly an inspiring night with music, food, drink, friends, and a relaxing evening in the park.  There are only two more concerts this summer.  Next week's concert will feature the music of  Uche and Nick McEwen and the 33.  The non-profit will be Visions of Hope.


Monday, August 12, 2013

A Thousand Splendid Suns

Monday Night Book Discussions
(written by Khaled Hosseini)
Salina Public Library
Salina, KS
© Lydia Lowe  8/12/2013

        Forget all that you know or think you know about the people and their life in Afghanistan during the past 33 years in this war torn country.  Once you read this book, your eyes will be opened.

     This is the story of Miriam and Laila; Jalil, Tariq, and Rasheed.  While the customs may be somewhat different than we are use to in the United States, that is where the differences end.  People are people the world over and all people share basic beliefs, needs, wants, and desires.  Everyone wants to feel safe in their homes and country; they require shelter and food; they long for a peaceful life among their families and community; being connected to a place that you call home is important; and in the end-we all live, fight, and die to protect those that we love, and ultimately, when the time comes-those with character rise to the top and take responsibility for their actions, and those whose character is lacking, it's either to little to late or not at all.  It's also a story of how people in our life, circle around and keep coming back to us.

     I think that this book will shake up all the preconceived notions that you may have about Afghanistan and it's people, about the war in general and about our place in that war.  This book is a real eye opener and will stay with you long after you have finished reading it and closed the book.  There is something for all types of readers, whether you are male or female, you'll enjoy this fast paced, easy to read book.  There is never a dull moment.  You'll keep reading late into the night.

     I can't wait the read the author's other book: The Kite Runner.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Concert For The Cause


 Concert For The Cause:
Featuring Kaleaha B. & Lacey Cruse
Avenue A Park
Hutchinson, KS
© Lydia Lowe 2013

     Singing sensation, Kaleaha B. a 16 year old from Hutchinson, carried the evening at Concert for the Cause this past Saturday.  She sang a 30 minute set of songs with background music from a CD and she did a phenomenal job!  

     Several acts cancelled at the last minute and under tremendous pressure Kaleaha B took to the stage and literally saved the day (and the evening's concert).  She had the crowd joining in on songs, such as The Fresh Prince of Bell Air rap and others.  Kaleaha sang her heart out at she danced and pranced across the stage.  She got a lot of crowd pop and turned what began as a rather lack luster show into one that Saturday's crowd will not soon forget.  

     Kaleaha B. performs around Hutchinson so make sure to check out one of her shows, if you happened to miss her at Concert for the Cause.  This 16 year old is going places!

     Lacey Cruse took the stage after Kaleaha B. and wowed us all with her tremendous talent.  She accompanied herself on guitar.  She explained at the beginning of her set that she had planned on having another guitarist help her with accompaniment but he had broken some bones in his foot and wouldn't be there.  But that didn't matter, as Lacey's sound was a big as all outdoors.  Everyone was clapping their hands and moving to the beat.  Lacey's truly a talented singer.

      Bob Colladay showed up to purchase some food and help out the cause: 3rd Thursday.  He just happened to bring along a few of his musical instruments, as all good musicians do.  He got talked into playing a set on stage, too.   Bob's music is truly unique and if you haven't heard him play the ukulele, you are missing out on a rare experience. 

     3rd Thursday was the non-profit cooking up the hamburgers and hotdogs with the help of Pools Plus.  3rd Thursday also hosted a silent art auction during the concert.  Don't forget, 3rd Thursday festivities take place this coming Thursday.  This is always a fun event each month and you don't want to miss it, so check it out on Main Street this coming Thursday.

      Concert for a Cause did have two performers pull out at the last minute with no excuse.  It's unfortunate when performers egos get in the way and then they don't honor their commitments.  As Danny Larzardi of Murder Ordained remarked, "The real ones (performers) show up".  I guess when you're a part-time musician you can throw away your fan base whenever you choose.  The Rolling Stones would never do that but then they're an internationally known group.   But it's all good, Kaleaha B. and Lacey Cruse just scooped up that fan base and they'll run with it.  As I've always said, no one ever remembers the singers who didn't show up.

     Next week's performers at Concert for the Cause will be Marshall Matthews who is an Elvis impersonator, Katie Berry, Ale, Prayer Bones, and Creeping Shadows.  As Concert for the Cause winds down toward the end of August, multiple performers will be showcased, so you won't want to miss out on some great new music in small sample packages.  The non-profit featured will be catSNIP, a spay and neuter initiative project for the feral cats in Hutchinson.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Hutchapalooza!-Concert For The Cause

Concert For The Cause:
A Variety of Musical Acts on Two Stages
DCI Park/Avenue A Park
Hutchinson, KS
© Lydia Lowe 2013

     Snafu: To make a situation confusing or chaotic and my definition of the word, more aptly put, unplanned changes leading to an unexpected outcome.  Hutchapalooza began with several snafu’s.  But the show must go on and everyone involved in the production stepped up to make this one of the premiere events in downtown Hutch.  

     At 10:00 a.m. this past Saturday, DCI Park and Avenue A Park in Hutch, featured a variety of bands with a variety of styles.  There was something for everyone from rock to rap to country to bluegrass to heavy metal and oldies.  This event was also a double benefit concert for the Salvation Army, who was preparing food at DCI Park, and the Hutchinson Zoo, who was preparing food at Avenue A Park to raise money for the new otter exhibit.   Besides the hot food there were snow-cones and Mel Hambelton was out with their ice cream truck.

     As the shows opened at each park and at the eleventh hour, Pools Plus cancelled and would not be available to grill food at Avenue A Park.  Organizers James Lowe and Steve Lovese didn’t let this bother them, nor did the zoo representatives.  One of the zoo reps went home, picked up the family grill and soon the smell of barbecue began wafting through the park.  It’s great when groups and people pull together for the common good.   You can’t keep a good benefit down. 

       Several bands over the course of the day cancelled due to various reasons, one or two didn’t even bother to call to cancel, and as I’ve said before, if a band cancels there is always someone waiting in the wings to take their place.  Once again, this proved true as a variety of other bands and individuals stepped up to fill in the gaps in the band lineup.  Actually this provided a more well-rounded lineup and got the word out about several great local bands that you might want to check out around the community.  The crowd always remembers the names of the bands that show up.

An impromptu parade breaks out during Hutchapalooza

          Hutchapalooza was a rousing success.  The crowds were out in force, the Salvation Army and the Hutchinson Zoo were blessed by your donations, and fun was had by all who attended.  Next week Concert For The Cause will feature Julie Sutton, John Rowdy, Lacey Cruse, and Mark Bowling.  The concert series is back at the Avenue A stage.  The non-profit will be 3rd Thursday and there may even be some of the arts community out and about with tables of wares available for sale.  Come check out all the food, music and fun!