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Jam for the Soul
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Many believe music is food for the soul. If so, than why not host a music concert to benefit Kershaw County’s Food for the Soul (FFTS) soup kitchen and homeless shelter?

At least that was the thinking of the FFTS volunteer events committee last winter when charged to create a new, exciting fund-raiser with broad appeal to be held at one of Camden’s fine venues. Former FFTS board member and co-event chairman Robin McAlpine remembers, “We were beside ourselves when we developed our bold plan.”

Of course, everyone was devoted to the shelter. As volunteers they often did everything from help prepare and serve free breakfasts and lunches four days a week (more than 23,000 in 2017) to helping maintain a safe haven complete with showers, and laundry services for homeless men, women, and children seven days a week (average 15 visitors a night).

“But a concert? Uncharted waters,” McAlpine said.

Undaunted, the committee invited a highly sought Columbia headliner and a few crowd-pleasing local bands to serve up a musical smorgasbord -- everything from rock to country. They added to the mix talented dancers from some of the community’s dance studies, the uplifting MLK Community Mass Choir, and, for good measure, the charming Miss Camden (Savannah Harvey) and Miss Teen Camden (Gracie Stockman). Last, they developed an ambitious plan to secure funding to cover expenses.

The family-fun event will be held rain or shine at The Town Green, 1015 Market St., on September 22 from 3-9 p.m. Thanks to the generosity of some wonderfully enthusiastic sponsors, admission at the gate is $20 for adults, $15 for seniors 65+ and military, and free for kids under 12. Tickets may be purchased in advance at Synovus Bank Camden branch, 501 East DeKalb St.

Parking is free. Food available include Rodney’s Smoke Master BBQ, Gadgets of Camden, Brick Oven Pizza, Loopy Lemon, Ashley’s Farm-to-Table, Dog-On-It hot dogs, and Kona Ice. Beer and wine will be available, as well as a KidsZone and $15 Jam T-shirts. Blankets, lawn chairs and canned food donations for the shelter are encouraged, but no pets, coolers or tents, please.

After a most appreciative nod to all who made Jam for the Soul a reality, the event will kick off at 3:05 p.m. with student dancers from Palmetto Dance Center in Elgin. The talented team will perform several numbers from their dance program. Members of an engaging dance troupe from Camden’s popular Dance Extraordinaire will showcase some of their energetic team performances at 3:20 pm.

Switching to the main stage at 3:35 p.m., Emcee Tyler Cupp, with WPUB, will introduce Ambush, an established and popular Camden band, whose members offer a diversity of talents and years of experience. You can’t help but notice a touch of inspiration from Jimmy Buffett, Vince Gill, the Eagles and the Doobie Brothers. One of Ambush’s original band members, Jimmy Jackson, will play lead guitar and sing lead vocals. He has played everything from rock to beach for more than 40 years. Other members on stage will be Lee McLaughlin on bass, Julie McGinness on on the keyboards and Tim Bordner on drums.

Lugoff’s Patterson School of Dance, whose award-winning student dancers perform in shows, festivals and gala events throughout the southeast, will perform several routines at 4:05 p.m. Next on the dance stage at 4:20 p.m. will be performers from Camden’s newest dance school, Dancin’ on Broad, who will delight all with some of their spiffy routines.

While the main stage makes ready for Jam’s headliner, the last of the dance studio acts will perform at 4:35 p.m. The talented dancers hail from the KTA Camden Dance Studio, which opened its doors at the Fine Arts Center for dance classes and competitive teams in 2010. KTA Camden is a division of the statewide dance studio, KTA Dance and Gymnastics.

Front and center at 5 p.m., will be this year’s headliner, the Reggie Sullivan Band, whose smoky vocals, unique tandem slide guitars performances and entertaining act continue to wow audiences at sellout concerts throughout the Southeast. Considered “one of the hottest bands in South Carolina,” the Reggie Sullivan Band is known for its “top-notch musicianship and fresh twists on arrangements.” With Sullivan on bass and vocals, Evans Megill on guitar, and Geoff Shackley on drums, this band consistently offers a winning combination. Hunker down in your seats and make ready for a show stopper performance!

At 6:30 p.m., Camden’s own MLK Community Mass Choir will provide an inviting change of pace as they step to the mics. MLK was formed in 2015 to honor the memory and legacy of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The harmony and peace that brings the choir together is meant to reflect the life that Dr. King not only spoke about but lived. The choir sings at the annual MLK Day each January and performs at various events throughout the year. Under the direction of Elder Samuel A. Dennis, Pastor of Worship and Arts, Abundant Life Fellowship Church in Camden, The MLK Mass Choir draws it members from several Kershaw County churches.

If you are into the diverse offerings of praise music mixed with an occasional uplifting popular song, you won’t want to miss the Elevate Band at 7 p.m. The band and occasional guest musicians perform at the contemporary worship service at Camden’s Lyttleton Street United Methodist Church as part of the vibrant music program led by Jason Brown. The service, open to the community, was started in 2014 by Reverend Steve Patterson and meets twice a month in the fellowship hall. Known for their vocal harmonies and original, unique song arrangements are band members Iris Kaputa, Sarah Hanson, Jane Peacock, Shelly Sloan, Randy Abrams, Bobby Wilson and Dennis Turner.

Rounding out the evening will be Jim Hayes and Friends. Originally from Virginia, Hayes began his almost 40 years of entertaining experience by playing in high school garage bands and at local parties. He moved to South Carolina in the seventies, where his numerous solo gigs at local water holes led to playing with assorted rock, beach and country bands here and abroad. Hayes and his own bands have opened shows for artists such as Roger McGuinn, David Allen Coe, the Marshall Tucker Band and Rob Crosby. These days, Hayes performs with just his guitar and an occasional guest or two. For Jam for the Soul that will be band mates Danny Massalon and Buddy Harre. The group will be performing from 8 to 9 p.m. A perfect ending to a bold adventure!

All proceeds from Jam for the Soul will benefit Food for the Soul, whose mission is to serve as a Christ-like ministry committed to providing food and shelter, awakening hope, and honoring dignity to those in need in Kershaw County.

“The Shelter is truly a place of healing and hope,” FFTS vice chairman Kim Gill said. “All who enter our doors feel a sense of family.”

Under the direction of six paid staff and many volunteers, the facility also serves as an American Red Cross Emergency Shelter when called upon, and is approved to serve as a Special Needs Emergency Shelter by the KC Safety and Emergency Services Department.

Food for the Soul is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors and is a debt-free 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Annually the FFTS seeks and receives funding from the County of Kershaw, granting organizations, and community corporate, business and individual donations. It is not part of a collation of charitable non-profits who pool efforts to fundraise and support. The FFTS does receive and sincerely appreciates community donations of canned goods, non-perishables and supplies.

The shelter is located at 110 East DeKalb St., Camden, SC. For information, please call (803) 432-4771, e-mail or visit our website at