Sometimes a worthy cause can attract the big names, with no MTV exposure, no Entertainment TV. Recording artists Vince Gill (MCA) and Amy Grant (Word) headlined a sold-out concert on February 16, 2002, in rustic Sisters, Ore. (pop. 900), to benefit local schools. Warner Bros. recording artist Leslie Satcher, keyboardist Tim Lauer and guitarist Jerry McPherson joined Gill and Grant onstage.
The show was part of the ongoing Sisters Starry Nights Concert Series — now in its sixth year — organized to raise money for the Sisters Schools Foundation. Proceeds from the thrice-yearly concerts are used to preserve co-curricular programs and activities for the Sisters elementary, middle and high schools that are threatened by state budget cuts. Although the emphasis is on funding music and arts programs, a wide range of sports, technology and other programs also receive money. In its first five years, the Sisters Starry Nights Concert Series has raised approximately $250,000 in net proceeds for Sisters schools.
The concerts’ charitable cause, the area’s spectacular scenery and the venue’s intimate setting (the concerts are held in the Sisters High School auditorium, which seats roughly 800 people) have inspired an impressive list of artists who donate their time. Past performers include Lee Ann Womack, Deana Carter, John Hiatt, Al Anderson, Christopher Cross, Kim Carnes, Michael McDonald and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. “The clientele of folks that have been drawn here over the years says a lot about the venture,” Gill noted in an interview held during soundcheck.
“What’s unique about it is that it’s an ongoing series of [school-benefit] concerts,” Grant added. “Nobody else has done this.”
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