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Local musicians combine talents to help Kenyan orphans

  • Matt Martino, shown here playing the piano at the 20s Hideout in Marion, will hold a fundraising concert to benefit Kenyan orphans on Oct. 1.

    Matt Martino, shown here playing the piano at the 20s Hideout in Marion, will hold a fundraising concert to benefit Kenyan orphans on Oct. 1.
    Holly Kee photo

  • These orphaned children in Kenya will soon find their lives a bit better thanks to the efforts of Matt Martino and a group of local musicians.

    These orphaned children in Kenya will soon find their lives a bit better thanks to the efforts of Matt Martino and a group of local musicians.
    Courtesy of Matt Martino

 
BY HOLLY KEE
hkee@localsouthernnews.com
updated: 8/5/2022 9:54 PM

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS -- When Matt Martino first got a call from Kenya, he thought it was just another of the dozens of scam contacts that seem to haunt our phones and email on a daily basis.

But that wasn't what it was at all.

Martino, an accomplished pianist and musician, found himself introduced to the plight of orphans in an orphanage halfway around the world from his home in rural southern Illinois.

"It's been life-changing for me," said Martino. "I was at a point in my career where I was inspired. This got me excited again about playing."

Martino eventually responded to the daily emails from a man named Ivan who found Martino's YouTube videos and reached out, hoping Martino might be willing to help raise some funds for the orphans of Homa Bay County, Kenya.

"Their needs are so basic," said Martino of the rural Africa facility. "There is no clean water, very little food, and the area is affected by drought. Other ongoing issues include a corrupt government."

When Martino saw the need, he knew he needed to help. So, he contacted some area musicians and made plans to hold a concert.

Now, 18 months later, his plans are a reality. "Wherever You Are," a live concert and recording to benefit the orphans of Homa Bat County, Kenya, is set for Oct. 1, at the Southern Range Cowboy Church in Cobden.

Along with Martino, the concert will also feature the musical talents of Robert Bowlin, Heidi Burson, Mel Goot, Dan Hagemann, and Ashley Jeffers.

The concert will be recorded and 100% of those proceeds will directly benefit the orphans.

Tickets will go on sale on Aug. 1 at 8 a.m. at www.srcowboychurch.com.

For more information, visit www.mattmartino.com.