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Voices of Hope concert this Sunday in Spencer

By Susan Shinn Turner

For the Salisbury Post

SPENCER — The 16th annual Voices of Hope concert will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday in Library Park.

Organizer Lori Yang — who directs the Michael Yang Foundation — says even though the start time is later this year, the format will remain the same. Through an afternoon of music and a slide show, families can come together to remember children who have died, she said.

But with food, games and fellowship, it’s also a day to celebrate these loved ones.

Yang has always been in charge of the food for the concert, but The Hot Dog Shack will be on hand this year, as will The Chill, a shave ice business that recently opened on Fisher Street.

“That will be a huge help to me,” Yang said of the food vendors.

Dot Honeycutt, Yang’s grandmother, has made a quilt to be given away. Other items available include a Stella Dot cross necklace, a carwash bucket, a Downtown Salisbury basket, and more. Raffle tickets will be collected in designated buckets for each item, increasing ticket buyers’ chances of getting just the prize they want this year, Yang said.

The concert raises money for Circle of Hope, a support group for bereaved parents; a Young Life summer camp scholarship; and a scholarship named for Michael Yang from the Civitan club. Yang’s husband, Steve, is a member of the club. The scholarship is awarded annually to a West Rowan High School senior.

Yang says it’s hard to believe that Michael, who died in 2001, would be a high school senior this year.

Circle of Hope meets at 7 p.m. the second Thursday at Steve Yang’s dental office, 2290 Statesville Blvd. Yang says that 28 additional group or individual counseling sessions took place in 2017. Both Circle of Hope and the extra sessions are free to participants. Julie Garner is the longtime facilitator.

Each year, Yang faithfully adds photographs to the slide show that runs throughout the afternoon. She added five this year, for a total of 71 photographs. It’s important, she said, for parents to see photos of their children in the slide show and hear their names called as part of the balloon release.

The concert continues to evolve each year, Yang said. “It is to remember the children who have gone before us, but at the same time, I want it to better the lives of others who are here.”

To that end, Adam Broyles, a longtime Voices of Hope performer, will use Sunday’s concert to launch his own fundraiser, Singing for Soles. Broyles, 23, is partnering with Samaritan’s Feet in this effort. Broyles plans to play music at area churches and events. But instead of collecting money, he’ll collect shoes for young children and teenagers.

“They do have to be new,” he said, “but not expensive. This movement is to put shoes on the feet of kids, from toddlers to teens, who don’t have them. Overseas in some places, kids can’t go to school without shoes.”

“Adam is a neat person and always so supportive of what we’re doing,” Yang said. “We definitely hope his new project will be successful.”

Broyles will have a table at Sunday’s concert to share information about Singing for Soles and collect shoes.

“The project gives me a purpose of more than just going out and singing,” said Broyles, who’s been singing since he was 3. He’s also talking with local businesses about being drop-off points for donated shoes.

In addition to Broyles, performers will include Leslie Rich, Darlene McElroy, Kaleigh Allen, Shelly Galloway, Leanne Kluttz, Reshaud Brown, Destiny Stone, Angel Paez, Dustin Chapman, Hannah Addair, Abby Robinette, and Ava Morris.

Blaine Smith will return as emcee.

“He’s never missed a year with us,” Yang said.

The balloon release will be at 3:45 p.m.

For more information about the Michael Yang Foundation, visit michaelyangfound.org.

For more about Singing for Soles, contact Adam Broyles at 704-639-1823 or adambroyles316@gmail.com.



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