Jazz, blues, R&B concert will benefit CONTACT

August 6, 2011 9:45:00 PM

Jan Swoope - [email protected]


CONTACT Helpline is singing a new tune. After traditional fundraisers including Brunswick stews and fish fries, the non-profit agency is adding music to the mix as it asks communities it serves to support the 24-hour crisis and reassurance helpline. 


Sidney Kirk of Memphis, Tenn., and his band will headline an evening of entertainment Friday, Aug. 12, at Trotter Convention Center in downtown Columbus. The longtime jazz, blues and R&B pianist has toured extensively with longtime friend Isaac Hayes, playing the big houses -- Carnegie Hall, the Hollywood Bowl, The Apollo. Hayes'' former band leader can be heard on the "Shaft" soundtrack. 


"This is my first time to visit Columbus; we''re just tickled to death to be coming down to do it," said Kirk by phone from Memphis Thursday. "We guarantee you''ll hear something you enjoy." 




All in the family 


Kirk''s vocal and keyboard stylings are reminiscent of Ray Charles, stated his daughter, Christian Kirk of Columbus. 


Christian, co-anchor of WCBI''s "Sunrise" TV program, will perform with her father at Trotter. In fact, the show will be a family reunion. Multiple relatives are in the band. 


"We''ll do some Motown, there will be some Elvis, some Jerry Lee Lewis, and we''ll do some original songs, as well," she promised. 


Christian and her dad, who also played with the Bar-Kays, will perform a duet of "Unforgettable." 


"I''m a daddy''s girl, and I don''t get to sing with him that often, so this is an honor for me ... a very special moment for us," she said. 




Like almost all non-profits nationwide, CONTACT has felt the effects of the slowed economy. As costs and client needs rise, support from local communities is more crucial than ever. 


The listening service handles a high volume of crisis and need calls from adults and teens in multiple counties. In addition, it provides applied suicide intervention training. 


"Our volunteers also make over 300 reassurance calls a day to seniors and the disabled to check on them, to provide that human contact, to make sure they''re alright," said Thomasson. "Especially for those that don''t have any family around, it gives them extra security." 


Thomasson and CONTACT volunteers hope the concert will go a long way toward advancing the agency''s mission. They also hope to attract more active volunteers.  




How to go 


Advance tickets are $20 at Bryan''s Record and Pet Center at 2003 Main St. in Columbus, or from any CONTACT board member. Couples'' price is $35. Ticket price at the door will be $25 per person. 


"Doors open at 6 p.m., and we''ll have vendors in the lobby with interesting items for sale, including purses and jewelry," said CONTACT Executive Director Lindy Thomasson. Door prizes, a raffle, hors d''oeuvres and dancing will add to festivities. Beverages will be available for sale. 


Pre-show entertainment will include tunes by emcee Jeffrey Rupp, as well as Joseph St. John. Comedian Ken Cornelius will entertain, too. 


"Come out and enjoy a good time, and dress to impress," encouraged Thomasson. For more information or tickets, contact the agency office at 662-327-2968.

Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.