Grace Notes
By Chris Crain

Last month I told you I would have a review of the Casting Crowns/Nichole Nordeman/Josh Bates concert in this month's column. I knew I would be going to the show, so I figured it was a no-brainer to include a rundown of the evening. However, although I did attend the show, I was so busy talking with people and taking care of other business, I actually missed it! I didn't even see five minutes of the concert itself. I do know it was loud! As I walked the halls at Broadbent that night, I had to shout to be heard. Oh well, if you were there-you know how it went. If you missed it, odds are that you don't really want to hear about it anyway-am I right? So let's look ahead.

The Louisville Fire, along with the Third Coast Sports Agency, is putting on their first "Faith Night," Saturday, May 20 at Freedom Hall. Tickets are $10 and include that night's game plus a performance from Warren Barfield. I had a chance to catch Barfield live a couple of times last month in Nashville and was very impressed. He's a singer/songwriter who usually performs with an acoustic guitar. But this guy can rock-even with an acoustic. He was able to hold his own while touring with Third Day and Toby Mac a few years ago-and that was minus all of the extra lights and effects that headliners get on a tour like that. It should be pretty good. For ticket information contact Vanessa with Third Coast Sports at 615-292-2000. Other "Faith Nights" with the Louisville Fire include June 10 with the band Mainstay and July 15 with Matthew West.

The Ichthus Festival is set for June 15-18 in Wilmore. This marks the festival's first appearance in the summertime. Traditionally, it has taken place in the spring, just before Derby. However, if you remember the weather for Thunder Over Louisville last year, which was on the Saturday night of Ichthus, you can understand why the "powers that be" moved the date. It snowed! I was planning on attending Ichthus last year (I really wanted to see Day of Fire), but I couldn't bring myself to watch it in the snow. That's just stupid. Hopefully the new dates will help. Now, as long as it doesn't rain 10 inches, I think it will be fine. Some of the crowd probably won't care if it does rain. Anyway, the main stage line-up this year includes Casting Crowns, Chris Tomlin, Jeremy Camp, David Crowder Band, Day of Fire, Reliant K, Toby Mac and many others. The "Deep End" stage features heavier music from The Chariot, Still Remains, Project 86, as well as funky stuff like Family Force Five and others. The "Edge" stage features Kevin Max, Downhere, Decyfer Down and more. Various ticket packages are available. You can get all the info, including tickets prices, at ichthus.org.

Briefly: Former American Idol finalist George Huff is coming to town this month. He'll participate in the "Louisville Peace Festival" coming to Waterfront Park on the 27th. For more information, call 866-825-5903. Also, new Christian band Need to Breathe is set to open for Train at the Louisville Palace on May 18 (the new date for this show was just announced at press time).

Finally, if you caught the Third Day show at the Palace back in March, you'll remember bassist Tai Anderson talking about his recent trip to Africa. During the current "Wherever You Are Tour," this Atlanta-based band is working to raise money and awareness to address the "Child Soldier" crisis in Gulu, Uganda. Anderson described the band's involvement, "Last year we were introduced to a film called "Invisible Children: Rough Cut" that documented the tragic situation in Gulu in which children are taken from their homes, armed with machine guns and sent into rebel warfare for the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army). We immediately wanted to bring resolution, aid and awareness to this issue and we knew our fans would want to be involved as well. We are grateful to have the opportunity to come alongside World Vision's `Children Of War' campaign that exists to rehabilitate these kids and give them a hope and a future." I got a chance to view the film last month at U of L and was moved by what I saw.

World Vision, a Christian humanitarian relief and development organization, estimates that nearly 30,000 children have been abducted from their families over the course of this conflict. Abducted children are brutalized, indoctrinated and manipulated into becoming weapons of terror against their own families and communities. When the LRA is actively hunting new soldiers, the children who live in the remote villages of Gulu will travel (sometimes many kilometers) by foot at night to seek refuge in the city center. At times 6,000 or more children, also known as the "Night Commuters," will arrive at safe locations such as World Vision's Noah's Ark to find safety in numbers.

At each concert and online, the band is encouraging its fans to sign up for a monthly pledge of $20 to raise money for the Children of War Rehabilitation Center in Gulu, which reaches out to escaped LRA children, giving them medical treatment, counseling and spiritual aid. The Center has helped more than 13,000 formerly abducted children to recover from their trauma, prepare for a productive future and in most cases, return to their families and communities.

As he mentioned that night at the Palace, Anderson traveled to Gulu to visit this Rehabilitation Center just prior to the start of the tour and documentary footage from his visit is shown each night of the tour, in addition to the trailer for the "Invisible Children: Rough Cut" film.

For fans that wish to write letters and communicate directly with a specific child affected by AIDS and poverty, sponsorship packets of children from Uganda and other nearby countries in northern Africa are also available at their concerts.

The "Wherever You Are Tour" expects to raise nearly $150,000 for various non-profit organizations through a "dollar per ticket" fundraising campaign. A portion of the monies raised will go directly to benefit the children in Uganda through various non-profit organizations such as Blood:Water Mission and Hands In Service. The remaining funds will go to other US and overseas organizations such as Habitat For Humanity, Teen Challenge (Minneapolis, MN) and the India Christian School (Rajahmundry, India).

Invisible Children Inc., established in 2004, is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing financial resources to invisible children by documenting their true, untold stories in a creative and relevant way, resulting in positive change. Invisible Children Inc. was formed after the release of the film "Invisible Children: Rough Cut," which documents a war in Northern Uganda in which children are abducted by rebel forces and forced to fight as child soldiers. The filmmakers for "Invisible Children: Rough Cut," Jason Russell, Bobby Bailey and Laren Poole, are also the founders of Invisible Children Inc. The organization is based in San Diego, California. You can more info at invisiblechildren.com.