Sunday, November 9, 2014

Don Campbell entertains to a full house - By Elizabeth Richards

On Saturday, November 1, 2014 Don Campbell & the Don Campbell Band presented An Evening of Dan Fogelberg to a full house, wrapping up the 2014 Music with a Mission season at the North Windham Union Church. 
Campbell circulated in the lobby prior to the show, welcoming concert goers with a handshake and a smile. His warmth and friendliness created a relaxed atmosphere that remained throughout the performance. The intimate atmosphere of the church created a feeling of connection and fellowship not found in larger venues.

The evening opened with Tom Dyhrberg, a member of the band, performing Gordon Lightfoot’s “Sundown,” followed by a selection of other songs by the Canadian singer/songwriter. Dyhrberg’s versions were very true to the originals and his voice so similar that it was almost like listening to Lightfoot himself. 

After Dyhrberg finished, Campbell took center stage to perform Folgelberg’s  hit “Make Love Stay” with just a guitar, before asking the band to take the stage for the rest of the show. Campbell told a story of being just 15 years old, and hearing the music of Dan Folgelberg for the first time. That changed his life, he said, and was when he first realized he wanted to be a songwriter. When the legendary performer passed away in 2007, Campbell knew he wanted to honor his influence by recording some of his songs. What resulted was a double CD, Kites to Fly. 

Campbell’s style is a perfect complement to Folgelberg’s music. He put his own spin on the songs rather than trying to mimic the artist exactly, resulting in a show that was unique and interesting, yet comfortable and familiar all at the same time. Campbell arranged a blend of top hits and lesser known songs  that were just right. This is a show that would please any Folgelberg fan, and very likely make a fan out of many who were not previously followers. 

Campbell’s admiration for Folgelberg was evident in every story he told. The non-profit organization he chose to benefit with this concert is the Maine Coalition to Fight Prostate Cancer. Prostate cancer is the disease that took Folgelberg’s life at the young age of 56. In addition to ticket sales, a special fundraising raffle was held as well, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting the coalition. 

Music with a Mission committee chair Jim McBride and Minister of Music Dr. Rick Nickerson are pleased with how the series has evolved and the impact they have had to date. In many ways, said Nickerson, the second season was easier, and they are already looking forward to the 2015 season. 

McBride said the first year was a learning experience. “I think the community was open to the idea but not quite sure what to expect. They’ve come to understand that we’re bringing in really good quality acts, and it’s truly a community fundraiser.”  Before Saturday’s concert, the 18 concerts in the series to date had raised over $15,500 for the church and community causes. “Our church is thrilled to have people come through the doors and to be able to give back to the community as well,” said McBride. 

Attendance at the series has been good, even for acts without huge name recognition. Nickerson said “Over the past two years, one of the things we’ve learned is what the community wants. There are certain styles of music that they just love.”

McBride added that part of the fun has been mixing it up, rather than sticking with one genre of music. Bluegrass has been very popular, he said, and the committee is planning a really great bluegrass act in the 2015 lineup. The new season will begin in January 2015.

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