Tribute Concert for Cleveland’s Homeless

By Jason Williams Volunteer

The Woodchopper’s Ball (named after a Woody Herman tune) is an annual Folk/Acoustic Guitar concert benefiting the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless. The concert date this year is Saturday, December 13th, at 7:00 pm; and the location is the Kent Stage, 175 East Main Street, Kent, Ohio (www.kentstage.org).

The founder of WCB is a genuinely nice fellow named Brian Henke. Mr. Henke’s been doing the benefit now for “ten years now or close to it”. The concert will have “nine of the very best acoustic guitarists in the Universe.” So far, though, the guitarists performing have yet to be announced.

When I talked to Mr. Henke a couple weeks back, I asked him how he decided which musicians to pick for this concert. He replied, “That’s the hardest part. But it all comes down the chemistry amongst the guitarists.” This concert will have “three sets of three sets of round robin performances,” so chemistry, indeed, will be very important.

I also asked Mr. Henke about his personal influences, musically and morally. (Morally because almost all of the proceeds from the concert go to the Coalition. The musicians aren’t paid to be there. Their expenses are paid for-plane tickets and lodging-but the rest, including Mr. Henke’s time in arranging this, is all volunteer. This is a terrific, creative endeavor to help one’s fellow humans). Mr. Henke told me his top influences were “Beethoven, Phil Keaggy, Pete Townsend, Michael Hedges and The Beatles.” As for Mr. Henke’s moral influences, he told me he “gets a lot of joy being involved with giving and sharing.” He doesn’t “believe in religion,” but “believes in God. We all need to look out for each other. We all need to love each other more.”

Our conversation side-winded beyond my questions and into many topics, and among these topics were the mixture of spirituality and creativity. “A creative movement is a spiritual movement, whether it be positive or negative. With information we can capture infinity, with love we can make infinity worth imagining.” With this positive attitude toward the concert and life, it’s bound to be an amazing event. Weather conditions permitting, Mr. Henke expects a large audience this year.

Copyright Homeless Grapevine Issue #86 in November 2008 Cleveland Ohio.