Following on his work at Miracle City in Chico (in the old Toys R Us building) immediately after the Camp Fire to bring relief supplies to refugees, Ken Donnell, and the Gift of Music in Greenville, are sponsoring a series of concerts at the Paradise Performing Arts Center (PPAC). The concerts are designed to remember the first anniversary of the Camp Fire, celebrate the re-birth of the city of Paradise, and to provided much needed funding to support PPAC and the re-building of Norton Buffalo Hall.
The first concert will feature the world famous bluegrass musicians of the eighth annual California Bluegrass Extravaganza starting at 7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 7, the eve of the first anniversary of the Camp Fire. One interesting fact, this same group of musicians played in Chico at the Sierra Nevada Big Room one year earlier, on Nov. 7, 2018, the eve of the Camp Fire.
These same musicians are now returning a year later to play a benefit concert at PPAC. “A year ago, they played, we slept and we awoke to a world forever changed,” said Donnell, adding, “This year’s concert will be a time of remembrance, and of hope for a future where Paradise is filled with joy and music.”
The second concert, on Saturday, Nov. 16, will be a Rhythm & Blues dance show featuring two of the hottest Paradise dance bands.
Big Mo and the Full Moon Band, plus the Revells will rock PPAC to the rafters. There will be a full bar set up for this concert, where PPAC, for this one special night, will be transformed into the fanciest dance hall around.
The third concert, Recuerdos de Paradise, on Sunday, Nov. 24, at 4 p.m., features some of the finest classical and flamenco guitar players in the world, including the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet.
Donnell describes the origins of this concert series. “After our Miracle City closed, I was approached by some very famous classical guitarists offering to play a benefit concert for free to help with the recovery of Paradise,” he said. “We tried to organize a concert last spring, but Paradise was still too much of a disaster zone, so we shifted to this November, which is the first anniversary of the Camp Fire, and expanded from one concert to a series of three separate concert events. When a beautiful facility like the Paradise Performing Arts Center is sitting mostly idle, and famous musicians are offering to perform for free, how can I say no.”
Donnell emphasized that there are a limited number of tickets available, and that the focus of promotions is to encourage music fans around the world to “Buy a Ticket for a Paradise Fire Refugee” at www.californiagiftofmusic.org.
Tickets donated by fans worldwide will be distributed to Paradise Fire Refugees who have registered at this same website to request a free ticket. There are a limited number of seats available to non-fire refugees, so any local resident wanting to attend one of these concerts is encouraged to purchase their tickets ASAP.
Donnell also sent out a request for help with organizing and operating these concerts. He mentions that, “Butte county is completely tapped out for both monetary and human resources. There is so much need, but everyone is simply too exhausted to help. We need to bring all of the resources required to operate these fabulous concerts, and create a substantial financial donation to PPAC and Norton Buffalo Hall.”
Anyone who can volunteer to help can email Donnell at [email protected] or text me at 566-2561.