Many Voices One Song update (or Facebook killed the blogoverse star)

Posted first on Facebook:

For those who were tracking, I spent a big chunk of my time during the last several months occupied w/organizing a benefit concert for Multifaith Works called Many Voices One Song, held on Friday at St. Mark's Cathedral in Seattle. I organized it in my role as "Community Catalyst for the Commission for Emerging Mission", and the idea was that the event would be good for both Multifaith Works (a local AIDS and substance abuse recovery org that I volunteer with) and the Episcopal Church. Here's an excerpt from the email I sent to volunteers as a follow-up. Pictures will be forthcoming:

"While attendance was lower than it has been in the past, we raised a total of $8,382.92 for Multifaith Works! ($4862.92 was given in ticket sales and donations, $3520 directed towards World AIDS Day). That is about 15x the budget, and on par with my private goal for the event, so I count that as a real success!

In addition to a solid fundraising total, I have heard multiple stories about the way people were touched by the event: A personal friend who didn't know anything about the organization before the concert contacted Angel yesterday to say that he would like to become a Multifaith volunteer. A teenager who Stephanie works with in Edmonds didn't want to come to the event, but whispered to her mom, in tears, "I'm so glad I came" after listening to our CarePartner's very moving presentation. I heard multiple compliments about the emcees, and at least one independent, breathless rave about every one of artists who performed. As Arthur (who has been to a lot of these) pointed out afterwards, the music this year was as good as we've had at the event. The artists captured the hopeful, compassionate spirit of the organization perfectly, and St. Mark's donation of space allowed for the creation of a really transcendent atmosphere for the entire evening. I heard multiple expressions of gratitude to the Episcopal Diocese for making sure that the Many Voices tradition continues, and several people approached me at the reception interested in being involved in organization and support for next year."

The line-up of Alan DePuy on Organ, the Rob-A-Live Productions Gospel Choir, John Van Deusen from the Lonely Forest, and Captain Smartypants were all incredible in the Cathedral, and a great experiment in doing a variety of musical genres in that space.

It really was a beautiful event, and I'm proud of the work that I did. My hopes going forward include:

1) gathering a group of people to start planning for gathering a bigger crowd next year while maintaining the same 'community produced', heartfelt spirit.

2) seeing more of John Van Deusen('s style of music) in the Cathedral - indie/acoustic/voice driven - it was perfect. John's four songs were, I hope, a precursor for beautiful things to come.

3) developing a formal process for participant follow-up on the Episcopalian side, so that this event functions as effectively as possible as a welcoming event for Episcopal Churches in Seattle (and particularly St. Mark's).

4) following up on the process to develop my own skills as an event organizer and fundraiser, which will be major parts of my job as a priest, and which I probably won't learn much of anything about in seminary.

Thanks to all of you who were there, and thanks for the support for Multifaith!