The 2015 Sophia’s Heart Gala in Nashville, Tennessee
When Jan asked me to write a recap of this wonderful evening, I had no idea how much fun my husband and I would have.
First, though, I would like to tell you a little about my 6-year history as a fan of Danny Gokey. When a young man in his late twenties captivated my heart (along with many others’) singing his heart out of Season 8 of American Idol. I voted my fingers off (along with many other fans)…he should’ve won and I wasn’t the only one disappointed when he didn’t…He did win the hearts of so many & it was just the beginning for him! A new chapter in his life & the BEST was yet to come! Not only in his music but in his personal life. He is a passionate follower of Christ and an encourager who regularly uses social media to share God’s word & wisdom.
I haven’t been able to attend every “Danny” event and my first SHF gala was last week, 10-12-15 in Nashville, TN. That was reason enough for my husband, James and I to take a trip to Tennessee.
The evening of the Gala, we hurried to make it on time knowing how crazy Nashville traffic can be. True to form, we were slowed by traffic. But no worries, we left early. Arrived at The City Winery early enough to relax.
The tables were beautifully decorated. Cute little goody bags were placed on each person’s chair. So sweet and thoughtful! Roger Jaeger played music and the silent auction table had lots of items to bid on. From local business gift certificates to trees, shrubs, baskets & home-made items. Steve Compton, CEO of Sophia’s Heart Foundation, welcomed everyone & opened with prayer. Sandra Lee (The FISH FM) was Master Of Ceremonies. Dinner was served & Melissa Kelly gave a moving testimony of how SHF has helped her and her family. Clifton Davis, Nashville Executive Director, gave the farm presentation, discussed project development & a video of the newly acquired property was shown. (Editor’s note: See the video of the new property HERE.)The 59 acres has current structures but there are plans to build cabins, music lab, amphitheater/stage, basketball court & bike trails…even an equestrian center! Big news and lots of going on with Sophia’s Heart Foundation! Ray Carmen started the live auction with a Fiddle signed by Charlie Daniels. Second was a guitar signed by approx 70 (my hubby and I counted the signatures b/c we won that item!) CMA artists, a Liberty Bell painting and finally, a Sophia’s Heart painting closed the live auction bringing in top dollar.
The SHF choir flew in from Milwaukee to perform. They gave it their all, performing several songs and interacting with the audience. Then Danny got up and sang with & without the choir. He sang ‘Mary Did You Know’ beautifully. I love it when he sings this Christmas song. He also sang Love Will Take You Places, his #1 hit, Hope In Front Of Me, and Lift Up Your Eyes. Left us wanting more!
Finally, the silent auction winners were announced. It was such fun we didn’t want the evening to end.
We met many of the key people with SHF, like Steve Compton, Clifton Davis, LaKesha Jones, Mark Weller (who sat at our table). I pray that more people get plugged in with Danny and the Sophia’s Heart Dream.
I got to talk with Danny Gokey briefly before people began converging on him. He agreed to give me 5 min for an interview for this article. While he was mingling with the crowd, I introduced myself to Danny’s wife, Leyicet. What a beautiful, sweet, woman who complements Danny perfectly!! Danny was finally free & gave me the 5 minutes plus more! Big thanks to Danny for squeezing me into his incredibly tight schedule.
Despite my clumsy interviewing skills, he was gracious, kind and patient. He talked about his plans for the newly acquired Tennessee acreage talking about building many buildings/structures to accommodate all the needs of SHF. He even let me in on something new! He is planning on producing a television show around the lives of he & his family (what fun! I am stoked about this news)…there is no name for it yet…it is all in the very first stages….and the details are sketchy at this time. But be looking for so much more from Danny soon…he has big plans! He is so interesting and his mind is constantly whirling with creative ideas. He is a joy to be around!!
I asked Danny what message he like to give his fans and supporters. His response: “thank you…THANK YOU!!! The Best is yet to come!” We talked for a little while longer…then he had to go. He gave me a hug and thanked James and I for attending the SHF gala.
I was on cloud 9 again. Just like when I met him for the first time so 5 years ago. He is a jewel. Perhaps the rarest of all because he represents what I consider to be the greatest American Idol of all…a man of God…an encourager….and an inspiration. He has been blessed with talent, intelligence & a beautiful family. He has an incredible support system. Danny has overcome adversity and his song, ‘Hope In Front of Me’ epitomizes Danny.
I was hoping to meet more of the ‘old’ Gokey Gang members at the gala. But, no one came forward. Where are you guys?? I know you are there…we talk on social media occasionally. I do look forward to meeting you in person in the near future.
I would like to dedicate this article to all the DG (Gokey Gang) fans… past, present & future!! God bless you all!
Dorene (aka Golde13800)