David Harburg, Daring to Dream

David Harburg is daring to dream.  He’s putting on a concert to raise $11,000 to restore a vocational school in Kyakatara, Uganda.

I have to say, it’s refreshing to find somebody whose “dreams” include putting their gifts at the service of helping those in need.  This is all the more reason why we just have to help him reach his goal!

The story of how he got here, is an interesting one.  It began somewhere over the rainbow — quite literally.

This story begins somewhere over the rainbow…

David is the great grandson of Yip Harburg, probably most famous for his song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”.  Yip Harburg was friends with the likes of Ira Gershwin and Frank Sinatra.  He was a successful lyricist who lived the good life in Hollywood.

Yip was also an atheist.  At one point, he was even blacklisted for his socialist ideas, but those “radical” inclinations eventually led him to courageously fight for social and racial equality — not an easy thing to do in his time.

This is a man whose worldview was very different from Dave’s — Dave is a devout Catholic — but perhaps their hearts were more similar than one might think at first glance.

Ironically, Dave’s talent for singing and music was often met with frustration in finding the right lyrics to go with his original music.  His great grandfather, on the other hand, had a great knack for lyrics.

Put them together, and you have a beautiful take on timeless lyrics.  Dave’s music is really good, really insightful, and quite moving.

Dave inherited almost 500 of his great grandfather’s poems and song lyrics to draw from.  Though Yip claimed to be an atheist, his lyrics seem to sing about a God he never knew, about a paradise he felt he was called to live in one day.

Dave draws on that hope and the Christian themes he has found in his own great-grandfather’s lyrics.  They’re there, and when a talented musician like Dave gets a hold of these lyrics, the result seems to be the perfect collaboration.

Perhaps this collaboration is proof that truth is placed in the heart of every man by God himself?  Perhaps it is proof that if a man digs deep enough, he will find truth, and it will change him.  Hmm…

Whatever it is, it is certainly beautiful.

This is David’s second benefit concert to support the work of  Children Waiting Everywhere.  If you don’t know about this organization and the amazing work spearheaded by Naomi Corera, check them out.  They are doing important work with the poorest-of-the-poor around the world.

Perhaps even more amazing is that 100% of all donations go directly to those in need.  It’s a 100% volunteer organization — no salaries, no travel expenses covered, no office supplies purchased — every dollar goes to those in need.

It’s the driving force behind the success of these projects.  It’s what motivated David to put on the first benefit concert last year, and it’s what introduced him to this very specific call to help this vocational school in Uganda.

After last year’s performance, Naomi told David to come and see the work that his concert was supporting — so he did.  He spent over a month in Africa, visiting all the amazing  projects that were being funded by people like you and me.

Dave falling in love with the kids of Uganda last summer.

During this month, Dave came upon a vocational school in which he saw a group of men struggling to work and support their families. As he toured the site, he was very sympathetic to their plight — he works in carpentry himself — he noticed almost every tool was broken, making gainful employment virtually impossible.

Dave just knew that he couldn’t just see what he saw and not at least try to help them — so he went home and made a plan.  This began his journey to a second benefit concert, with all proceeds going directly to the vocational school that touched his heart so deeply.

He has set a goal of $11,000 to provide these men the tools that are necessary to support their families with the work of their own hands.

This is about far more than just buying some tools. It’s about recognizing the dignity and worth of our brother’s halfway around the world.  It’s about recognizing their desire to provide for their own families with their own hard work, and helping to make it a reality.

They don’t want freebies. They want to be able to provide for their families.  Let’s give them the opportunity to do that.

Come and hear amazing music from Dave and an extremely talented group of musicians, including Alanna Boudreau.  These are amazing artists sharing their God-given talents so that others might live and work and know that they are loved.

Update: The concert is over, and it was amazing!  Hope you made it.

If you were there, you know just how amazing it was.  I was blown away by the music, the diversity of talent, the enthusiasm of the crowd and the humility of the performers.

There were violinists, cellists, banjo-ists (I know, not really a word.), drummers, guitarists, bag-pipers, amazing vocalists — and even an instrument that looked like a tiny organ (what was that thing?) that made for a truly memorable night.

Honestly, it was so good.  And, I must say that I’ve never heard the Salve Regina in a concert setting, but it was really moving.  And that Mumford and Son’s cover — better than Mumford and Sons.  Really.

If you didn’t make it to the concert, you can still contribute. Go right on over to the Children Waiting Everywhere website. Make a donation and put “For Vocational School” in the option that states “Add Special Instructions to the Seller”. Do it today.

We have a part to play. This is one little way to do something beautiful with the resources God has given to us.

Please help to make this dream a reality!

Here’s a link to a recent interview Dave did, including some of the music he performed at the concert, including one of his originals songs.

Go here for more information on what Dave’s up to.

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