Friday, March 14, 2014

Life and Love Benefit Concert - The History

The Life & Love Benefit Concert is one of the greatest things I've ever had the pleasure of doing. Before I go into further detail about the history of the LLBC & the latest event, I want to give ALL the glory to Jesus Christ. He is my Lord, He is my Saviour and none of this would be possible without Him. Everything I do is to serve Him because I truly believe this is my purpose:)

The LLBC is an organization that has two simple missions. One is to gather talent from the community and showcase their talents/abilities and the second mission is to benefit a charity. In about 2-3 years or when I graduate form college, it will actually be to benefit my own non-profit charity. My charity, name still tbd, will eventually be the one benefiting from these concerts. What exactly will my charity be doing you ask? Well the short answer is quite simple. I will be opening up vocational schools, kind of like CATEC, for underprivileged teenagers in North (when I say North I mainly mean Mexico), Central, and South America. So the benefit concerts will be a form of fundraising. The great thing is that I will be taking this concert all over the USA to different communities. Helping their local talent shine while also helping other teenagers find their purpose, their success, their hope. 

     Here's how the official history and transformation of the LLBC goes down. I started this back in 2011. It was called "Back to School Bash". It was great. It was actually originally just a church event. so I invited a bunch of different groups from different churches to perform. My mom did conferences all the time, so did my dad, my grandma had these networking events, my mom's best friend held conferences, my mentor worked with the National College (at the time). I was surrounded by entrepreneurs and I didn't stand a chance to be anything less than successful. Just kidding. Of course I could've been unsuccessful! You see, this is a story of never giving up, this is a story of going at it, this is a story of self motivation. But I'm getting a little off track. Let me continue. So anyways I was about 13 years old and I said, "Well hey if they can do it I can do it." Though at the time I didn't know that everything I was doing was really just copied from them. Anyways I'm also a singer and I love performing. When I first started performing I hated doing it alone. I was terrified. I usually cried if I ever performed alone. I always forced my sister to perform with me. The idea was that if I could get a bunch of other performers on stage, then I wouldn't be all alone! Plus aren't we, singers and stuff, always looking for gigs? And so that was the idea for the first one. I planned it in about a month and a half and had the full backing of my parents and wonderful youth group who helped out with everything. Here's a couple of pictures from the very first BTSB! :) 

(My brother's rap group "Royalty")

Then 2012 came and it was the middle of June. "Hey mom is it okay if I have a Back to School Bash again?" And so the planning commenced. I got Chik-Fil-A to provide milkshake coupons for all of my guests. This time I decided to raise money for a charity. I'm going to be honest, I don't remember the name of the charity, but I do remember that it was to benefit suicidal/depressed/angry teenagers. It was a really great organization and we raised about $75. At that time there was no ticket entry fee so I was only accepting donations. There was about 80 people there! This time around I asked some of my friends to perform. We had 2 violinists, 2 church groups, a soloist, my sister and I, and a church that did a play! It was really fun and I had a photographer for the event too. Now get ready to laugh because I'm going to show you a video of my sister and I performing my song, "New Generation". This was during my "bad haircut, I'm into light rock, I just started performing" phase. ha. ha. But it's part of the story so I have to share it!

I was recently interviewed for the Daily Progress and I think this quote says a lot about these two events.
“The first time I did it, I never felt pressured or felt that it was a nightmare. I thought about it a lot and put a lot of time into it, but if you love it, it shouldn’t give you nightmares,” she (Lily Garay) said. “It helps having people who are helping you and people you can look up to. In the past, I had some volunteers but they had to drop out and that was stressful. This year they’ve stayed with it and it’s been great.” (via)

So we skip over 2013 because it was a year where I was figuring out things. A lot of things. Life & Love Benefit Concert was one of those things. I'm a person who has always had a lot of dreams.Tons of ideas. I love helping people. I love doing things for myself. Most importantly, I love God. I gave up a lots of my plans and things I thought were going to be great for my future. I gave them up to God and dedicated my life to Him. I asked Him to show me guidance and to give me direction. While I won't be sharing every detail about some of the new and improved plans I have for the future, I won't share every goal or aspiration, I will say this: Make sure you continue to follow me. 

2014 quickly came. I worked harder than ever. This was my first time running an event in a venue other than my church. This was the first time it was called "Life & Love Benefit Concert". This was the first time I had budget goals & estimations. This was the first time it wasn't a "Christian" event. I worked harder than I had ever worked before.  I stayed up until 2am some mornings. I learned a lot about myself because of this concert. I learned to take better care of myself, I learned some new weaknesses & strengths. I woke up at 6am many mornings. I got sick. I had to reschedule the concert 3 times due to snow. 

I was prepared. I had everything memorized. It was now Sunday 3/9/14. 6:30am. By 7:30am I was at the WINA radio station. 9:00am I was at church to get ready for worship. Around 1:00pm I did my own hair & makeup and at 4pm I went to the school I held the concert in. Yoga pants, check, sweater, check, sneakers, check! 6:45pm Doors opened. 

All I could think, "What if everyone is bored. What if people hate it." But we raised $600+.  I was featured on the news, in the newspaper, and on the radio! The charity is so grateful for the donations. The performers had a blast. Let's see where this takes us. Until next year! 


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