Letters

Letters 08-31-2015

Inalienable Rights This is a response to the “No More State Theatre” in your August 24th edition. I think I will not be the only response to this pathetic and narrow-minded letter that seems rather out of place in the northern Michigan that I know. To think we will not be getting your 25 cents for the movie you refused to see, but more importantly we will be without your “two cents” on your thoughts of a marriage at the State Theatre...

Enthusiastically Democratic Since I was one of the approximately 160 people present at when Senator Debbie Stabenow spoke on August 14 in Charlevoix, I was surprised to read in a letter to Northern Express that there was a “rather muted” response to Debbie’s announcement that she has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president...

Not Hurting I surely think the State Theatre will survive not having the homophobic presence of Colleen Smith and her family attend any matinees. I think “Ms.” Smith might also want to make sure that any medical personnel, bank staff, grocery store staff, waiters and/or waitress, etc. are not homosexual before accepting any service or product from them...

Stay Home I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I read the letter of the extremely homophobic, “disgusted” writer. She now refuses to patronize the State Theatre because she evidently feels that its confines have been poisoned by the gay wedding ceremony held there...

Keep Away In response to Colleen Smith of Cadillac who refused to bring her family to the State Theatre because there was a gay wedding there: Keep your 25 cents and your family out of Traverse City...

Celebrating Moore And A Theatre I was 10 years old when I had the privilege to see my first film at the State Theatre. I will never forget that experience. The screen was almost the size of my bedroom I shared with my older sister. The bursting sounds made me believe I was part of the film...

Outdated Thinking This letter is in response to Colleen Smith. She made public her choice to no longer go to the State Theater due to the fact that “some homosexuals” got married there. I’m not outraged by her choice; we don’t need any more hateful, self-righteous bigots in our town. She can keep her 25 cents...

Mackinac Pipeline Must Be Shut Down Crude oil flowing through Enbridge’s 60-yearold pipeline beneath the Mackinac Straits and the largest collection of fresh water on the planet should be a serious concern for every resident of the USA and Canada. Enbridge has a very “accident” prone track record...

Your Rights To Colleen, who wrote about the State Theatre: Let me thank you for sharing your views; I think most of us are well in support of the first amendment, because as you know- it gives everyone the opportunity to express their opinions. I also wanted to thank Northern Express for not shutting down these types of letters right at the source but rather giving the community a platform for education...

No Role Model [Fascinating Person from last week’s issue] Jada quoted: “I want to be a role model for girls who are interested in being in the outdoors.” I enjoy being in the outdoors, but I don’t want to kill animals for trophy...

Home · Articles · News · Music · Big Kenny has a big heart
. . . .

Big Kenny has a big heart

Anne Stanton - August 3rd, 2009
Big Kenny has a Big Heart...
...for the children in Darfur

By Anne Stanton 8/3/09

It’s one of those, “Isn’t it a small world” stories. Bart Lewis of Honor was in Nairobi two years ago at a private plane hangar on assignment with the Kenyan tourist bureau to find “good stories.” He noticed a film crew milling around and a guy standing alone with long hair and an oddball top hat.
The celebrity—at least he guessed he was a celebrity—was wearing a vest that said, “Love everybody.” After talking to the camera crew, he learned the man was named Big Kenny, a country western singer who was there to provide supplies to the war weary people in Darfur and set up a new school.
A few days later, when Lewis was back in the states, something clicked in his head, and he turned on the television to the Country Music Awards. There was the same guy, singing and playing guitar in a super-charged duet performance.
“It was Big Kenny on stage with his partner, John Rich. Their band, Big and Rich, was up for album of the year. As it turns out, Kenny’s a very successful country Western band. Very high energy.”

CLOSER TO HOME
Now Lewis, who has kept in contact with Big Kenny, can see him perform closer to home. The duo is playing at the Turtle Creek Casino and Hotel in Williamsburg on August 6 at 9 p.m.
During the concert, the audience will be sure to see Big Kenny’s motto, “Love Everybody” on most everything he owns, because that’s what he lives by. His “heart” has motivated him to help build and equip a new school in Akon, Sudan, which now educates more than 500 children (he and his wife work with a Boston-based group called My Sister’s Keeper), he said in a phone interview.
Big Kenny recently returned from a trip where he took three planes—one with 13 doctors, nuns and teachers, one filled with school supplies, and another with a crate of pharmaceuticals “because they just went through horrific cholera.” He gained more film footage from the trip, and hopes to edit the past four years of film to show others how good things can be done to help the world’s children.
“Instead of crying, pissing and complaining, I’d just as soon do something. Use my energy to accomplish something positively.
“I can’t see stuff like that and not try to do something to give them a little hope. I firmly believe that in being engaged in it, and watching lives get saved and children get an education, makes the world a better place… I’d much rather make friends everywhere right now when you can still talk to them, than send our sons and daughters and teens to kill them ten years from now because they are rising up out of despair.
Kenny said that if his son were ever in the same situation as the children of Darfur, he’d hope someone would come and help him out too.
“I just can’t get it out of my head. Some people can, but I’m not one of them. And it’s cool, it’s fun, it’s awesome man. It’s so great to go in a place like that where they’ve lived in war for so many years, just a few years out of civil war, and see the kids pick themselves up from where they lived—nothing more than reed grass, a sickle knife, and a bag of beans. And you see such joy in the kids’ eyes. Such great inspiration. They’d never heard anyone sing songs from a guitar. Music is a common denominator.”

ROCKING OUT
And speaking of music, Big Kenny said to expect “an absolutely stomping concert form beginning to end.”
“The thing that’s different about this year is that everyone was so raring to get up and play again; the band’s never been tighter. We are doing all the hits and breaking them up with solo songs. I’ve got a new one, ‘Long After I’m Gone.’ The video is out; it’s about where I grew up. The farm’s been in my family for eight generations. My dad is still running a herd of cattle. We’ve got music out there, and it’s really exciting and fun to play.”
Big Kenny is also drawing on his boyhood days with a solo album this fall, The Quiet Times of a Rock and Roll Farm Boy.
“These are exciting times for me. I’ve got my independence a solo artist from Warner so I’m going to release in a partnership using my favoritest friends I’ve met throughout the business over the last couple of decades. I’m having more fun than I’ve ever had.
“And the future looks great. You can write a song and put it out on the Internet tomorrow for everyone to hear. That’s so beautiful to see, and I’m feeling so blessed.”
Big Kenny said to expect a fantastic concert next week.
“In these times, we really appreciate when people are coming out and spending their hard-earned money. We want them to leave feeling that they just heard a tremendous concert; that their life is so much better somehow.”
As for Bart Lewis, he and Big Kenny have connected since meeting at Nairobi. Lewis works for National GEO, which is involved in missionary work. Big Kenny can’t help but inspire people, he said.
“He’s a really great story,” Lewis said. “He doesn’t fit any image one might have. His partner, John Rich, supported John McCain and wrote a song for him and was on McCain’s campaign trail, whereas Kenny just believes in doing good. He’s got a whole breadth to him.”

Tickets, from $40 to $70, are available at the Leelanau Sands and Turtle Creek Casinos, Meijer, www.casino2win.com, or by calling 800-585-3737.



 
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