Augusta virtual concert to kick off Red Kettle campaign

By: David Ibata

Given a pandemic that’s put a lid on group gatherings this year, The Salvation Army Augusta, Georgia, Command decided on something radically different to launch and sustain its annual Red Kettle campaign: a virtual concert and streaming music videos.

“Normally we’d do a kettle kickoff in front of a store, like a Hobby Lobby,” said Major Douglas McClure, Augusta area commander. “With COVID-19, we realized having a lot of the community come out for a kettle kickoff was probably not the best idea. Yet we still wanted to make a big splash.”

Augusta’s marketing and development team met with a local TV partner, News 12/WRDW, and came up with the idea of enlisting the help of local musicians.

“They’ll record performances in various places of the command – the Center of Hope, Kroc Center, maybe the Family Store – and put together a two-hour virtual kettle concert,” Major McClure said.

“Additionally, to get as many people involved as possible, we’re inviting local musicians and anyone connected to The Salvation Army to submit their own videos, subject to rules and regulations about what can be submitted.”

WRDW will broadcast the concert at 7 p.m., Nov. 23, and stream it on Facebook. GlueStick Music, an Augusta-based concert producer experienced in fundraising for nonprofits, will help produce the event; and WRDW, the Augusta Chronicle newspaper and Lamar Outdoor Advertising will promote it.

At the bottom of the screen, there will be a link to a “Donate Now” page.

“It’s almost like a video telethon or virtual-thon using Christmas music,” Major McClure said.

About a dozen performers have been lined up for the concert. The deadline for individual video submissions is Oct. 31. “We don’t know how many more will submit videos – it could be dozens, even hundreds; literally, the sky’s the limit,” Major McClure said.

The music will be available for social media viewing through the holiday season.

“Last year we raised $15,000 to $20,000 during our kick-off event,” Major McClure said. “This is a virtual way to hopefully replace that kickoff and raise at least as much, if not more, money than before.”

To submit a song for consideration: