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Friday, July 31, 2015


     Hot and humid was the weather for the evening.  It was air you can wear, it was so heavy with moisture.  A dark cloud came up in the west which helped block the intense sunshine, that and the steady breeze kept those in attendance somewhat more comfortable, even with the heat.

     On this night there were many challenges, the weather was only one of those challenges that needed to be overcome.  The band line-up for the evening was set up until Thursday afternoon.  New bands were recruited and then on Saturday evening, the line-up changed again.  There were a lot of unforeseen emergencies that came up but several performers came to the rescue and the show must go on.  And it did.

     Brody Baker started the show with a case of nerves and some technical difficulties.  Once Brody got going though, he sounded great.  He sang original tunes as well as cover tunes.  He did an amazing job and even continued with his set long after he planned to leave the stage.  The second band had cancelled at the last minute and the headline band hadn't arrived yet. 

     At one point Brody shared his guitar with the sound engineer and he sang a few cover tunes, getting the crowd involved singing along with well known tunes they'd heard on the radio.  Cody, the sound engineer, had an incredible voice and his guitar playing was spot on, without a sound check or any preparation time.  Pretty amazing feat, if you ask me.

     By this time, Burgess Martin and his band Phenomenon had arrived and after a quick set-up and a sound check began their set.  Tonight the crowd was treated to the full band, including the drummer.  Many times the drummer for the group can't make it due to conflicts in his schedule.  So this was a rare and welcome appearance.  Martin even performed some of his tap guitar method selections which he does in his own show, but these are not part of the Phenomenon set.  So the crowd got the full effect of the band and Martin's unique guitar skills.

      PILR-Prairie Independent Living Resource Center was the non-profit on this evening and there were issues with the grill, and the food.  But the group persevered and the crowd was grateful for the extra effort.  With the weather being so hot, drinks seemed to be the commodity of  the evening as everyone worked to stay cool and hydrated.

     Even though it was a hot, humid late summer evening and there were challenges, the show continued on.  The crowd stayed around talking with one another even after the show had ended.  This seems to have become one of the highlights for the evening as this has happened at the last several shows.  It's really great to see the community turn out and then after the entertainment, hang out talking to friends, neighbors and making new friends. 

     Next week the fun continues, although hopefully without all the challenges, as the featured non-profit will be The Hutchinson Street Cat Society.  Bob Colladay and his band Simone Du Garfunk along with Rice County Line will perform.  When Bob Colladay performs. it's always a party.  Also, I have heard so many great things about the band Rice County Line.  They're a group that came out of nowhere and now perform all over Kansas.  They have developed a tremendous following in a short time.  I've been excited about this show ever since the schedule was put together.  This will be a special evening, from the featured non-profit to those performing.  If you've never been to a CFTC show, this is the one you won't want to miss.

Friday, July 24, 2015


     A dark cloud came up in the west as preparations were underway for CFTC's Saturday concert in Avenue A Park.  There was thunder, lightning,and then the first few sprinkles of rain began to fall.  Preparations continued and the sprinkles turned into a drenching rain.  But CFTC and our non-profits don't give up easily, and after a 30 minute rain delay, the concert began at 7:30 pm.

      Saturday's non-profit was The Heavenly Bells who are a deaf bell choir.  They played beautifully but cannot hear what they play.  The Heavenly Bells opened the evening's entertainment with The Star Spangled Banner and then transitioned to another song.  It was interesting to hear how the bell choir is able to play the bells in perfect harmony without being able to hear what they play.  This was a first for CFTC as The National Anthem has been played and sung a variety of ways to open a CFTC show, but this was the first time a church bell choir has opened the evening's festivities.

     The next performer was Mitchell Probst.  He did an acoustic set of original songs.  The breeze died down once the rain ended and Probst played through some incredible late day sun, heat and humidity.  He kept his guitar in tune and persevered through a difficult weather evening.  His playing enticed passersby to the park as the crowd began to drift in after the rain.

     Up next was the Ziggowatts.  I had never heard the Ziggowatts play before, although there is a buzz around town wherever musicians gather about this group and their music.  They are my new favorite group.  Their music is so unique and different.  It's a cross between Rock-n-Roll, Blues, Jazz, Reggae, and I don't think I'd be to far off if I said I heard a touch of Zydeco in there too.  It was impossible to stay seated and listening to the music.  You had to get up and move.  The music was just to delicious.  This group was polished, professional and simply amazing.  If you missed the concert on Saturday and have never heard The Ziggowatts, make sure to check out one of their shows.  They play around town a lot and at other venues around the state and once you hear them, you'll be a fan.  Plus they give out free stickers with the band's name on them, I don't think there's a person alive who couldn't use a free sticker.  Am I right?

     Next week CFTC will be back in Avenue A Park once again raising money for PILR-Prairie Independent Living Resource Center.  The bands that will be playing will be local favorite Earth To Matilda and HOTT. 

Friday, July 17, 2015


     It was a hot, humid evening, Saturday, as the CFTC benefit for The Reno County Museum began.  A stiff breeze swept some of the humidity away and kept the bugs and mosquito's controlled.

     Braylin Martin kicked the evening off with his rendition of The Star Spangled Banner and an additional tune on his ukulele. Braylin won the talent competition on July Fourth and after hearing him sing The National Anthem and play his ukulele, it's easy to see why he swept the competition.

     ZSP (Zero Self Project) kicked off the evening with original music with a Christian theme to it.  This group sounded so professional and polished.  It's hard to believe that they aren't signed to a record label.  Every song was spot on from the vocals, to the instruments, to the sound quality.  The harmonies, the melodies, and the tunes just blended so well together.  If there was a wrong note in there, no one in the audience would have heard it.  They're just that good.

     The Calm from Wichita was up next and the last time that they played on Fourth of July they created a huge buzz.  Well, their local crowd following from last week showed up in force to see them again.  Their songs just feel really good clear down to your toes and you can't help but keep time with the beat.  Their songs give you happy feet as it's just toe tapping good.  Some folks drove by on their motorcycles, heard their music and joined the ever expanding crowd in the park.

     VOS (Victims of Spotlight) rounded out the evening.  This group has a loyal following that will show up anytime, anywhere just to see VOS play.  As quickly as they arrive they fade away when the group is done.  I've seen this phenomenon and it's almost as amazing to watch as hearing the band play.  This night was no different.  And a VOS show wouldn't be complete without one of the band's signature cover tunes Twilight Zone.  Unfortunately they usually sing this as the next to last song in their set so it's wonderful to hear the song and watch the band on stage and off as they sing it, but in the back of your mind the audience is thinking, this is about over. 

     Next week CFTC has a special concert in the park planned.  The evening will start with a church bell choir with a twist, as the bell choir is deaf and cannot hear their music as they play.  I've heard that their music is incredible so be sure and head to Avenue A Park early next Saturday to check out this unique group.  Mitchel Probst, Burgess and Burgundy Martin, and The Ziggowatts will also perform.  Be sure and purchase some food and drinks as all the money raised will go to support the bell choir.

Friday, July 10, 2015

CFTC-Hutchinson 4th of July Celebration

Burgess Martin performs cover tunes as his alter ego
      The day of the 4th dawned cool and mild as preparations began in earnest at 6:00 am for festivities in Downtown Hutchinson.  The citizens asked for a Downtown 4th of July Celebration and this year Concerts For The Cause delivered that celebration.

     Breakfast began at 7:00 am and was provided by The Lions Club.  All donations received went to The Lions Club for special projects.  There were cinnamon rolls, biscuits and gravy as well as orange juice and coffee.  Braylin Martin, winner of this year's talent show, as well as Burgess Martin, provided musical entertainment during breakfast and before the parade.  Breakfast continued until 11:15 am when the parade got well underway.

     During the parade there were snow cones and other assorted treats in Grasshopper Park across the street from Avenue A.  The Salvation Army set up their canteen over by the visitor's center in Avenue A Park and began grilling hamburgers and hotdogs for the crowds to eat after the parade had ended.  The smells from the grill were very enticing.  The Salvation Army had on hand a secret weapon to entice even the most picky of eaters, and that secret weapon was cheese; cheese hotdogs, cheeseburgers, it was all about the cheese.  They also provided a variety of condiments, several flavors of chips, several different candies, as well as pop and water.

     As the parade drew to a close, music began under the gazebo and crowds began to gather on the grass over by the visitor's center.  Families having lunch provided by The Salvation Army gathered under shade trees and over at the picnic tables by the water park.  Children were laughing and playing in the water at the water park as parents listened to the music.  The snow cone truck moved from Grasshopper Park to Avenue A Park and immediately a line began to form for the icy cold drinks.

Sean Story and Adam Pina
      A variety of bands played  over the course of the day: The Calm, BTW (Bring The Worship), Dockers, Balkans, Burgess Martin filled in with a variety of cover tunes to fill in for a band that wasn't able to make it, Sean Story and Adam Pina from VOS (Victims of Spotlight), Joy Coffs, Phenomenon, and finally Hold Fast.

     The crowd came and went throughout the day's festivities.  Avenue A would fill up with families and then everyone would clear out and a new group would arrive.  Children kept busy at the water park.  The music rolled on.  Before long it was time for supper. 

     Camp Hope was the evenings charity and they took over the evening's meal preparation as The Salvation Army began packing up to leave.  Snow cones continued to be a popular item all throughout the day.  In the evening, bottled water became the popular favorite as the evening was quite warm. 

     There was some concern that the evening's auto race that 81 Speedway was holding at the fairgrounds might diminish the crowds at Avenue A Park.  But that was not the case.  In fact, the crowds swelled to record numbers in the evening.  Apparently loud, noisy race cars weren't everyone's cup of tea.  A lot of people preferred soothing music, large shade trees, green grass, food fresh from the grill, and cold drinks.

     Over the course of the day four charities were helped, including Cans For Kansas Honor Flights who provided barrels for the aluminum cans that people discarded.

     All in all it was an amazing day of music, food, fellowship, and fun in Downtown Hutchinson.  Great family entertainment, water park fun for the kids, a relaxing 4th of July spent with family and friends, in a lovely park setting with everything close at hand.  And the price was right.  All this awesome for the price of a donation, here and there.  It was affordable fun for families and it benefited a variety of charities at the same time.  Just wait for next year . . .

Friday, July 3, 2015


     What a couple of class acts on Saturday night!  It doesn't get much better than The Hutchinson Municipal Band and Riley and Kathy Withrow.

     If you're a non-profit group that is still on the list to benefit from a party in the park, you can take a page out of The Municipal Band's playbook.  They showed up early to get everything ready on stage and behind the scenes at the visitor's center to sell food and drinks.  By the time the band had finished with their sound check and were ready to play, a crowd had gathered with their lawn chairs, the food was ready to be served and a line had formed for dinner and drinks.

     The band played patriotic songs and gave a history of the music before each selection.  Truly wonderful to hear how and why a song comes into being, the motivating force and happy accidents involved in creating something which on the surface seems to simple but is quite complex.  I don't think I've ever heard America The Beautiful sound so, well, beautiful.  It was one of my favorites of the evening.  Truly though, all the songs the band played were superb.  With each song, I thought, this is my favorite, until they played the next song.

     The crowd really turned out for this show, the weather was a bit cooler than it had been with a light breeze, the food was cooked to perfection, and the drinks were icy cold.

     Riley and Kathy Withrow took to the stage after the band, well, disbanded.  They played an hour set of oldies from country to rock.  Although the Withrow's couldn't hear the crowd from the stage across the way, the crowd was singing along with the songs that they new, and even attempted some soon to be new favorites.

     About 9:00 pm the mosquito's decided to get involved in the fun and the fun quickly came to an end.  But it was a great evening of music, food and fun with good friends.

     The Municipal Band plays on Tuesday evenings during the summer at The Farmers Market and there is plenty of shade and great music.  Be sure and check them out over there.  The Withrow's play all around the town and in a lot of the small towns around Hutchinson.  They played McPherson during one of the CFTC-McPherson shows this past June.  So check them out where ever you might find them playing.

     On Saturday, July 4th CFTC will attempt its biggest event yet, at Avenue A Park and Grasshopper Park across Main Street.  There will be breakfast provided by The Lions Club before the parade with several musicians playing in the gazebo.  Then after the parade stick around for lunch provided by The Salvation Army and several more bands will perform.  In the evening come back to Avenue A for supper provided by Camp Hope and hear more great music.  They'll be snow-cones and cotton candy for dessert or just because it's there.  The day's festivities will end in time for everyone to make their way to the fairground for the fireworks display.  Hope to see you there.

Thursday, July 2, 2015


     It was the final show of the first CFTC-McPherson season.  The show looked flawless to those attending but behind the scenes was another story.  If it could go wrong, well, it did indeed.

     The benefit for the evening was The McPherson Saddle Club.  Although there weren't any pony rides as the rumors predicted, there were several small ponies in attendance who wandered through the crowd greeting attendees and each other as they pranced through The Plaza.  The McPherson Saddle Club Queen was in attendance and preparations were under way for the rodeo over the weekend.

     Katie Berry started off the evenings festivities with some cover tunes and songs she'd written herself.  It was a hot, humid night with a thunderstorm brewing just off to the west, but miraculously her guitar stayed in tune and her voice never sounded better.  Katie is in the process of preparing for studio time in the near future.  I was excited to hear this news, and even more so after she sang her original songs.  I think her debut CD is going to be terrific.

     The rain continued to hold off as Adam Capps took to the stage.  He sang solo on this night.  Capps does solo acoustic shows and a show with a full band called The Dirt Road Drifters.  The band was in Manhattan preparing for Country Stampede and awaiting Capps arrival for the big weekend show.  Pretty impressive, going from totally obscurity to deciding a couple of years ago that he wanted to pursue his passion for music and song, and now he and the band are featured performers at Country Stampede.

      If you missed the CFTC-McPherson shows, you missed out on a lot of fun.  It was a party on The Plaza every Thursday night in May and June.  CFTC-McPherson will return next year, bigger and better, and there will be plenty of surprises in store, so be sure and check out the live entertainment, the food, the drinks, and fun with friends.  The new season starts the Thursday after the All Schools Day Parade, 2016.