By STEPHEN O’KANE, Special To The Bulletin | Published November 1, 2007
Suwanee Town Center Park was the site of this year’s Amigos for Christ Music Festival, an annual family-friendly event to support and raise awareness of those in Nicaragua. Throughout the day, the sound of music flowed through the open space as families, youth, and adults played in the sun, supported local vendors, and raised money to help bring fresh water to struggling areas of the Central American country.
The free event was held on Saturday, Oct. 6, and those in attendance were treated to sounds of several bands that included Banks & Shane, Starting Tuesday, Florez, and headliner Caedmon’s Call. However, the focus was never taken away from the importance of the festival as pictures from recent mission trips to Nicaragua flashed behind the musicians as they played.
At the front of the stage was a 20-foot section of pipe, part of a “Nicaraguan Pipe Dream” theme that encouraged people to donate $12 for 20 feet of pipe. Each donation would help the organization move closer to its goal of providing 10 miles of pipe for communities in Nicaragua that do not have clean water. Each of the bands helped the cause by asking people to donate to Amigos for Christ rather than spending money on their CDs.
As the afternoon drew to a close, FOX 5 news anchor Russ Spencer walked onto the stage to introduce the final band. Many of those walking around the park heard the announcement and took their seats on the lawn. Caedmon’s Call emerged onstage to monstrous applause and, after a brief greeting, began playing their music with which many were familiar.
The set was full of the band’s well-known hits and nearly covered their entire career as they played songs from their 1997 self-titled album all the way through to their new collaboration entitled “Overdressed.”
Caedmon’s Call continued to bring the focus back to the purpose of the event and encouraged attendees to make a donation.
“We’ve been called as followers of Christ to reach out, to love, to feed, to clothe, to help the most downtrodden on earth,” said band member Cliff Young. “What an amazing thing Amigos for Christ is doing.”
The band closed with “Hands of the Potter” from their 1999 release “Back Home.” The audience stood up, sang and clapped along, and after the song ended, Caedmon’s Call thanked the crowd for welcoming them with open arms and for supporting such a worthy cause.
The spirit of giving and fellowship was evident throughout the day. Those involved with Amigos for Christ were satisfied to see such a positive turnout for the event and are already looking forward to next year.
“This year was much bigger and we are hoping as years go by that more bands will want to be a part of supporting this cause,” said Sabrina Bland, wife of Amigos for Christ director John Bland. “Amigos for Christ strives to be the hands and feet of Christ.”
In an e-mail following the event, Bland said $38,000 was raised with the costs of the festival covered by sponsors. They hope to make it an annual event on the first weekend in October with a popular Christian band as the headliner.
“There are many people in Nicaragua right now that are very grateful for the support they have been given through this event,” Bland wrote.
For more information on Amigos for Christ, visit www.amigosforchrist.org or e-mail director John Bland at firstname.lastname@example.org.