On Monday, November 20, nearly 600 ticket-holders and 25 volunteers arrived at the Harris Center for the Arts to celebrate and support Hands4Hope - Youth Making A Difference while enjoying an unforgettable evening of music and entertainment. This type of event was a first for Hands4Hope, and it was a resounding success. Not only was the entertainment for the evening top-notch, but the event raised approximately $32,000 for Hands4Hope Education and Community Engagement Programs in Folsom.
The event was almost a year in the making, and really took off when Hands4Hope Folsom Steering Committee member Randy Mintz (Designing Dreams Flooring & Remodeling) contacted the Nashville songwriters he knew, combining his love of music with his passion to support youth and community service. Randy and a dedicated committee worked to plan all the details of the event, including finding generous community sponsors to share in the vision, coordinating with Harris Center for the Arts, working with the featured artists, and adding all the “special extras” like the pre-event reception, post-event party, themed decor, Nashville Songwriters Live merchandise, and more.
Randy also coordinated the donation of several guitars to be autographed by celebrities including Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi fame, country music megastar Gary Allan, and the three featured artists at the Nashville Songwriters Live event. The guitars were auctioned off during the event, raising more than $3,500.
The evening opened with a VIP Reception for sponsors and their guests. Off the Vine Catering presented delicious Nashville-themed food, while all enjoyed live music by talented Vista Del Lago Guitar Nation student performer Kasch Bowman.
We were so honored to have the esteemed Jim Pelley as our emcee to guide the evening’s festivities. After a brief presentation by Hands4Hope Founder and Executive Director Jennifer Bassett, youth leaders Chloe Deiss and Mia George shared their experiences with Hands4Hope, and the audience was treated to the premiere of a video short about Hands4Hope.
Because of Hands4Hope’s focus on youth, it made sense to invite local youth performers to kick off the evening’s music. Luckily, there is a cutting-edge guitar program at Vista Del Lago High School in Folsom under the direction of Vince Martini. Vista’s Guitar Nation presented several captivating duos and trios, evoking a full range of emotion in the audience.
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The featured performers, Jeffrey Steele, CJ Solar, and Mark Mackay, blew the audience away with their clear camaraderie and friendship with one another, their unscripted stories, and of course all their amazing talent and music. They were having so much fun on stage that the event went past the expected concert end time! But the audience didn’t seem to mind, as everyone was engaged and eager for more, and often singing along!
The festivities continued after the concert at Back Bistro in Folsom. The restaurant opened late just for guests of the Nashville Songwriters Live event, and it was packed! Guests savored good conversations, discussion about the performance, and of course thoughtfully-crafted food and beverages. Several students from the Vista Del Lago Guitar Nation performed, and later on, CJ Solar and Mark Mackay performed as well, taking many requests. Their passion for music and performance, as well as their bottomless energy and enthusiasm, made for the perfect end to a memorable evening.
Thank you to the committee!
Kathy Van Saun