Locals invited to Haiti concert fundraiser
February 12, 2010
In the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, many people kept their eyes glued to the constant television coverage.
Not Nicole "Kole" Christensen. She says it was too overwhelming to watch. Instead, she went straight to figuring out how she could help. "You go through this period of helplessness and hopelessness," she says. "There’s so much I couldn’t do, I started to just focus on what I would be able to do."
She doesn’t have loads of cash, a private plane, or paramedic training, but she can offer one thing: her music.
The singer/songwriter put pen to paper and reworked one of her old songs, "Rise from the Ashes." Then she posted it on her website and asked fans for $1 for the download, with all proceeds going directly to the American Red Cross. In addition, she pledged to donate proceeds from all song downloads for 30 days.
"I felt like if I offered something for people giving, they’d be more likely to give again," she says.
On Thursday, Feb. 18, Christensen who goes by Kole as a musician will have a chance to reach out to other supporters at a community fundraiser for the Red Cross at The Sidecar in Park City. The event, "Locals Rock for Haiti," will be presented by ParkCityVoyeur.com, Park City LOCALS, Readhead Marketing & PR, and Mountain Town Music.
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Kole, who is based in Midvale, will play a solo acoustic set at 8 p.m., followed by the Motherlode Canyon Band, which includes Park City Mayor Dana Williams. The event will also feature a silent auction with items donated by local businesses. Bidding begins and 7 p.m. and ends at 9 p.m.
Reaching out to help others is something that has always been a fundamental part of Kole’s life. Ten years ago, she realized just how important it was.
At 17, she was on a fast track to self-destruction from drug use. She overdosed and slipped into a coma, and when she came out of it, she recognized that her 15-year-old sister was on the same path. "The turning point was seeing her turning into me," she says. "I knew that the only way that I’d be able to save her was to save myself. I made the decision in my head that I was never going to go back to that place."
Kole bypassed rehab and instead got involved with things she knew would help her stay clean. She became a motivational speaker and competed in the Miss Utah Teen Pageant, which she won. "Speaking was therapeutic for me," she explains. "Being able to tell my story and hear other people’s stories kept my perspective on that lifestyle."
Soon after winning the Miss Utah Teen title, Kole signed a record deal and moved to New York City. The next few years brought ample opportunities, including running the Olympic torch in 2002 and touring Kosovo in 2004.
However, the record label ended up dropping her and she returned to Utah. She got a "real job," but after a few years in the corporate world, she realized that the only thing that made her happy was writing and playing music.
Last October, Kole set a goal to write 100 songs before the ASCAP "I Create Music" Expo in April. From the resulting catalog, she plans to choose the songs for her new record. "I think people just set the goal to write 12 songs and record a record. When I did that I wasn’t happy with the outcome, so I decided I would set a really difficult goal to hit," says.
The project has given her the opportunity to write songs for "other reasons than myself," as she puts it. She has worked with the Peace House in Park City and animal advocacy groups in Salt Lake. "It has been an amazing experience because I’ve learned so much about myself," she says. "I don’t know if I would have that [experience] any other way."
Kole was featured as part of the Orion Music Festival in Park City and she performed at the Crown on Main during the Sundance Film Festival, where she met a producer she is working with.
She says she plans to play many of her new songs at the Park City fundraiser, including, of course, "Rise From the Ashes."
Kole and the Motherlode Canyon Band are both donating their time and talents so that all proceeds from the event (including admission, silent auction bids and pizza sales) will directly benefit the efforts of the American Red Cross in Haiti.
The fundraiser event starts at 7 p.m. Doors admission is $10, and guests must be 21 and over. The Sidecar is located at 333 Main Street on the second floor of the Main Street Mall.