I guess it has been almost two weeks since the 13 Billion Hands Benefit Concert and I have not given a proper recap. While I certainly cannot take all the credit for the event, I can reflect on the challenges we overcame and the fun I had helping to put it all together.
In stressful situations, I am reminded that I am a worrying optimist. While internally, I may fret about everything, externally and even to myself, I say, “Everything is going to work out just fine.” Just ask my wife. Leading up to the concert, I had to repeat this over and over again. With the schedule already looking tight, we found out that there were going to be up to seven additional solo acts performing. I prayed quite a bit for the right heart before beginning negotiations on this line-up. In the end, I was pleased to find that we had enough time to allow a couple extra songs and still finish right on time.
Another point of unrest was practice for the band I was playing with. It was not until a couple weeks before the concert that were first able to get together. But, the musicians we played with were great, and email and YouTube did a wonderful job getting us all on the same page before our first practice. For the most part, practices were just fun times to play music together. I think this same mood carried over into the concert. I am not sure if I have ever had more fun than performing with Sid, Jay, and Sarah at the concert.
The final major challenge was turn-out. Again, being more of an optimist, I started wondering if we could pack the church out and raise enough money for a well (about $4000). But, things came up which prevented a lot of work from being done. I was able to communicate with a couple people during this time to keep the ball rolling and they were a big help. When I had the opportunity to really figure out a “marketing” (I really do not like that term in certain contexts) plan, the concert was about a week and a half away.
My friend Amy helped by announcing the concert in the area newspaper and SAU’s radio station put an announcement on their community board. We printed up posters and tickets to pass out, shared promotional videos on YouTube, tweeted, and invited people to the concert via Facebook. It really was a nice blend of social media and traditional methods, thanks to all involved. However, we did not have the kind of headline bands that drew a crowd.
We ended up with a turnout of around 40 people. Despite the lower-than-expected crowd, I think we all had a great time and can be proud of a job well done. The dulcimer players, harpist, and other musicians were amazing. Thanks to all who came out and participated in some way. This will be a blessing to children around the world. And, as Linda Adams (Director of ICCM) reminded me, God has a way of multiplying loaves and fish.