A Night for Hope

Last Thursday was a special evening for hundreds of people, ranging from musicians to fans to children in locations spanning from a church in Nashville to orphanages in South Africa.

A Night for Hope, in Nashville, brought together a group of six singer/songwriters – each of outstanding talent and varying notoriety – for one goal: to raise as much money and awareness as possible for the Houses of Hope in South Africa and Zimbabwe. Over the course of several hours, the artists performed solo and together in one of the most intimate and amazing venues I've ever been able to experience.

Organizers of the benefit concert are hoping to make it an annual event.

For me, the benefit was a unique and rare opportunity to combine two of my greatest passions: good music and dedicated contribution (in my own small way) to the children of Africa.

As many of my close friends and family know, I visited Ghana, West Africa twice (in 2002 and 2003), and as a result have been forever changed. Similarly, A Night for Hope was the direct result of the participating artists' own life changing trips to South Africa. Witnessing children who are forced to deal with the worst kind of conditions, yet have the greatest sense of hope and love in their hearts, is something that stays with you forever.

Performing artists included (in order of appearance):

Kennedy Noel (a 13-year-old with grown-up talent):
Kelly Clarkson joined Kennedy Noel onstage for a performance of "You Have Me," written by Kennedy Noel. In addition to being an up and coming pop star, Kennedy is the daughter of Jason Halbert, Kelly's musical director.
Nick Britt (a Nashville-based singer-songwriter and a member of Nick Britt and Black Market Research):

jillandkate (a duo of singer-songwriter-harmonizers and background vocalists for Kelly Clarkson):
Ashley Arrison (a country/pop singer-songwriter whose years of experience have helped her to grow into a strong, impressive artist):
Shane McAnally (one of Nashville's most talented singer-songwriters who has written hit songs for Kenny Chesney, Lee Ann Womack, Reba McEntire, and more):
Kelly Clarkson (one of the greatest, and underrated vocalists of our time. If I do say so myself):
Kelly performed a new song – co-written with Jason Halbert – called, "You Still Won't Know What It's Like." She described the track as a portrayal of her own feelings after visiting South Africa in 2009, and the idea that there's always someone out there struggling just as much as, or more than, you.

See all my photos from the night here.

Also, it's not too late to donate to this excellent cause. Just click here for more info.


  1. If people were willing to help each other, I think we could live in a better world.

  2. Excellent description of the event and great expression of how the night felt.