• 46°

Music in the park celebrates life

By David Freeze
For the Salisbury Post SALISBURY — On the first Sunday afternoon in November each year, Steve and Lori Yang’s friends gather to celebrate life.
They do it with a musical celebration honoring those who have lost children or others much too early in life. Steve and Lori lost their son Michael in 2001, and from that loss sprang Voices of Hope Music in the Park.
This year’s event was the 10th gathering, with nearly all of them held in Spencer’s Library Park. The Michael Yang Foundation and Busby and Webb Orthodontics organized the event under sunny skies. Lori Yang had been worried about the weather, especially after the rainy and chilly days earlier in the week and a less than perfect forecast.
“This weather is just a gift from God,” she said. Lori Yang is the executive director of Circle of Hope, also founded after the loss of the Yangs’ son.
Circle of Hope provides grief support to those who have lost children.
“The child could be any age, from infants to age 50,” Steve Yang said. “Circle of Hope also provides support for Kindermusik and Young Life. We couldn’t do it without all the community support. No one is turned away from Circle of Hope, and there is financing available when needed.”
Sunday’s musical celebration included performances by about 20 different individuals and groups. Highlighted this year were favorite songs from previous years.
Though some of the performers were professionals, none charged for their performances. Facepainting, cornhole and much more highlighted the games section.
A slide show honoring the lost children ran for about 20 minutes, replaying often in a nearby tent.
“Some people never hear the name of their child mentioned. We want to be empathetic and supporting,” Lori Yang said. “It means so much to remember these children. I especially love the music. We have gospel and country, some songs were especially written for today.”
Lori’s mother, Rhonda Honeycutt, was selling T-shirts, just as she has for 10 years.
“This event and the support group have helped Lori heal. She is coming back to her old self,” Honeycutt said. “Lori wanted to do something to honor Michael. Scotti and Billy Webb helped come up with the idea for the first one, and it is getting easier every year. It’s just a beautiful experience.”
Tripp Edwards is a member of the musical group Yadkin River Theory. He came with friend Bret Busby to sing together, and then they joined with Annabel Barr and Ivy Overcash.
Songs included “Lillie’s Eyes,” “The Cape,” “Live Forever” and “I Will Be Your Friend.” This was Busby’s first public performance, though he had been playing for Barr and Overcash after taking guitar lessons from Edwards.
Edwards first sang at Music in the Park in 2009 after nearly losing his own daughter.
“She had open heart surgery twice as a newborn, but we were blessed. She is still with us. It’s a real pleasure being a part of this,” Edwards said.
Kari and Kevin Ennis return each year to Music in the Park.
“I always get to see people that I haven’t otherwise. Every year there has been good food and great music,” Kevin Ennis recalled.
Other major sponsors for the event were Lam and Cynthia Chu, Bryan and Meredith Overcash, Ronnie and Shalyn Barrier, Carolina Color Corporation, and F&M Bank.
Steve Yang said that friends Bobby and Kathy Rusher, Billy and Scotti Webb, Bobby and Leah Ann Honeycutt, Bret and Sarah Busby, Matt Barr, Mary Heather Steinman, Bryan Pritchard, and Joseph and Leslie Cataldo make the event happen, in addition to the sponsors.
“This has been a way of healing for many years. We all have this celebration to look forward to. Voices of Hope has turned something sad into something wonderful,” said Lori Yang’s sister, Leanne Kluttz.
“I miss my son, but I see how his life has helped so many. He was here, and hopefully he continues to make a difference,” Lori Yang said. “A life ended, but his spirit lives on. I was once told by a grieving parent that my little boy saved her life. I am so happy to do this, to honor those that have lost a child.”
The event ended with a mass balloon release, with notes tied to send aloft to those children.
For more information on Circle of Hope, please call 704-603-4204, or Lori Yang at 704-630-0319.

Comments

Comments closed.

Local

Catawba holds baccalaureate services for Class of 2021

News

$9M settlement for two men wrongfully sent to death row

Nation/World

China lands spacecraft on Mars in latest advance for its space program

Business

Gas crunch hits Washington; Colonial Pipeline paid nearly $5 million in Bitcoin ransome

Coronavirus

State mostly returns to normal operations after 15 months of lockdowns, restrictions

Crime

Blotter: Man accused of stealing car, crashing it

Crime

Man faces new charge of attempted murder for father’s shooting

BREAKING NEWS

Gov. Cooper lifts indoor mask mandate for most situations, gathering limits

Crime

Barnes gets new punishment of two life sentences in Tutterow couple’s 1992 murder

High School

High school football: State’s top honor goes to Jalon Walker

Local

Scout’s Honor: With dedication of flag retirement box, Salem Fleming earns Eagle Scout rank

College

North Carolina king, queen of NCAA lacrosse tourneys

Education

Kannapolis seniors walk elementary schools

Local

Local real estate company employees come out in force to build Habitat house

Local

Quotes of the week

Coronavirus

Auditors find oversight lacking for $3 billion of state’s pandemic aid

Nation/World

When will gas situation return to normal?

Local

Rowan native Shuping posthumously receives Concord Police Department’s Medal of Valor, Purple Heart

News

GOP measure on penalties for rioting draws fire

News

Black high school softball player told to cut hair

Coronavirus

State shows 303 COVID-19 deaths in Rowan

Coronavirus

CDC: Fully vaccinated people can largely ditch masks indoors

Crime

One arrested, another hospitalized in Castor Road stabbing

China Grove

China Grove Roller Mill open for tours Saturday