News Column

Phillip Phillips to headline Music=Change

August 15, 2014

By Brad McEwen, The Albany Herald, Ga.

Aug. 15--ALBANY -- Hit recording artist and Southwest Georgia native Phillip Phillips will put his star power and his talent to good use next weekend when he returns to Albany to headline the Music=Change Benefit Concert for Mission:Change.

Scheduled for Aug. 22 at Albany'sExchange Club Fairgrounds, the Music=Change concert is designed to raise funds for and awareness of Mission:Change and its many charitable programs.

According to Mission:Change Executive Director LaDonna Urick, who is also Phillips' sister, while the concert is the organization's only fundraiser planned for this year, being able to share the Mission:Change story and inspire others to give of themselves is the overarching goal of the event.

"There is not an actual goal amount to be raised," Urick said. "This night will give us the opportunity to share who we are and how people can join us in making our community a better place. It's also a chance to listen to some great bands from the area and welcome back my brother for his first hometown gig since winning 'Idol.'"

Joining Phillips at the concert will be area artists Blastov, Evergreen Family Band, Anthony Johnson, Meow Ka-Pow and Anne Cline. In between each performance, organizers will share information about Mission:Change through short documentary-style films. There will also be artwork and Mission:Change merchandise for sale, and a silent auction featuring items autographed by Phillips, Dave Matthews Band, Luke Bryan, John Mayer, Rob Thomas and Matchbox 20.

"We are really excited about our silent auction that will take place that evening," said Urick. "It has been awesome to have these guys commit to helping us have an incredible night."

Even with all the different performances and events going on that night, for many in attendance getting the opportunity to see a true homegrown star will be the highlight of the evening. According to Urick, though, the highlight for her brother is getting the chance to help a good cause.

"My brother has been playing for Mission:Change events since our very first Sleep Out in 2009," Urick said. "This is nothing new for him to be a part of, even though his career is at a different level now. He says he is excited to come home and play in his community where it all began and for a great cause."

While Phillips says he is excited to be playing the event, Urick said he shared with her that he had some nerves about it, too.

"Phillip said he is nervous and scared thinking about this particular night because it's back at home and it is overwhelming to know that he will look out in the audience and see so many faces that he knows just staring at him," Urick said. "It's not like before when he was playing places like Austin's or Mellow Mushroom."

Urick said that while the event is bringing up a variety of feelings for her brother, for her, having her brother play an event for the charity she helped found brings her a feeling of joy.

"It's a really big deal for me, honestly," she said with tears filling her eyes. "I smile as I say that because I know that he stays pretty busy, and the fact that he is coming home to do this, in between shows, means the world to me. Did I ever imagine that it would be like this? Not like this. For him to be here to help the organization raise money, to show others how and where to serve or to serve better in our community, and allow our dream to come true, is priceless. I couldn't ask for a greater gift."

Helping to make the event a reality, said Urick, has been the dedication and support received by a variety of volunteers and sponsors, who have donated their time and resources in hopes of making the event a success.

"It is a great feeling to know that something good is happening here in Albany," Urick said. "Being a part of such an amazing family, of such a loving community, heart and soul joy makers, it's the best feeling in the world."

The event is scheduled to start at 7 p.m., and tickets are $50 at the gate. Tickets can be purchased in advance for $40 at or at Austin's FireGrill, Railway Freight and the downtown Albany Convention and Visitors Bureau Welcome Center on Front Street.


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Source: Albany Herald (GA)

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