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Letters 07-25-2016

Remember Bush-Cheney Does anyone remember George W. Bush and Dick Cheney? They were president and vice president a mere eight years ago. Does anyone out there remember the way things were at the end of their duo? It was terrible...

Mass Shootings And Gun Control The largest mass shooting in U.S. history occurred December 29,1890, when 297 Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee in South Dakota were murdered by federal agents and members of the 7th Cavalry who had come to confiscate their firearms “for their own safety and protection.” The slaughter began after the majority of the Sioux had peacefully turned in their firearms...

Families Need Representation When one party dominates the Michigan administration and legislature, half of Michigan families are not represented on the important issues that face our state. When a policy affects the non-voting K-12 students, they too are left out, especially when it comes to graduation requirements...

Raise The Minimum Wage I wanted to offer a different perspective on the issue of raising the minimum wage. The argument that raising the minimum wage will result in job loss is a bogus scare tactic. The need for labor will not change, just the cost of it, which will be passed on to the consumer, as it always has...

Make Cherryland Respect Renewable Cherryland Electric is about to change their net metering policy. In a nutshell, they want to buy the electricity from those of us who produce clean renewable electric at a rate far below the rate they buy electricity from other sources. They believe very few people have an interest in renewable energy...

Settled Science Climate change science is based on the accumulated evidence gained from studying the greenhouse effect for 200 years. The greenhouse effect keeps our planet 50 degrees warmer due to heat-trapping gases in our atmosphere. Basic principles of physics and chemistry dictate that Earth will warm as concentrations of greenhouse gases increase...

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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