By Will Phillips
The Relay for Life Team at Eminence Speaker has been working since late last year to raise enough money for a major fundraiser. It seems that their dream will now be a reality. The first Annual Hope Jam Concert will take place this year at the Kentucky Renaissance Fair. According to Lisa Willhite, an Eminence Speaker employee and team leader, the idea came about because of the team’s business.
“[Eminence Speaker] started a Relay team two years ago,” said Willhite. “So a group of people said, ‘why don’t we put on a concert, since we’re in the music industry?’ And we were like, right, so we got to talking.”
From there, the idea took hold. As the team reached out to their local music contacts, a setlist began to form. Currently, there are three local bands on the ticket, with one well-known Kentucky artist from Taylorsville. Jamie Tingle, Silver Wings and the Sugar Foot Band will all play along with country artist J.D. Shelburne.
“We wanted to do more than just have Henry County bands, but we wanted Henry County included,” Willhite said. “So we contacted J.D. [Shelburne] and we contacted the Renaissance Fair. We just wanted to go one step further to really put Eminence Speaker on the map, plus Relay for Life.”
Willhite, herself a two-time cancer survivor, said that Relay for Life has been the driving force behind the event.
“Everyone on the team has had some form of cancer in their life,” she said. “Whether it’s a good friend, parents or kids. So we just wanted to make a big difference, so we thought we could use the music industry, since we’re in the music business. And we thought, maybe it would sell, and it’s done really, really good, to do what we’ve done at little to no cost. A lot of people volunteered their time. And that’s where it came from. We wanted to make a difference.”
The team, funded entirely by volunteers and fundraising, raised $7,000 at Eminence Speaker alone. That is then matched by Eminence Speaker.
According to Willhite, the community has been very responsive as well. “A lot of people are really excited,” she said. “They give a lot of their feedback. Even in the community, people are like, ‘yeah, we’ll come.’”
And so they should be, considering the involvement of Henry County. According to Willhite, the Eminence Speaker team has done all of the work themselves, without the need for outside assistance from other Relay teams. She also said that everyone who is working the event is part of the team and that almost everyone involved is from Henry County.
The event, beginning at 4:30 p.m. on May 24, will be held “rain or shine,” at the Renaissance Fair, which is providing food and drink. Tickets are $15 for adults and kids under 12 are free.
Those interested in learning more or helping in any way should call 845-5622.