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‘70s group headlining fundraising concert


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Classic rock band Kansas will headline this year’s Our Hospice of South Central Indiana free concert on Labor Day weekend.

The group, which reached its peak of popularity in the late 1970s, is best known for hits “Dust in the Wind,” “Carry On Wayward Son” and “Point of Know Return.”

It will be the band’s second appearance in central Indiana within a two-week period. Kansas also will play a free show Aug. 15 at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis.

The ensemble’s current lineup includes three members from the band’s earliest years, including original member and drummer Phil Ehart. He was among founding members in 1970 in Topeka, Kansas.

The Aug. 30 concert at Mill Race Park raises awareness and money for Our Hospice. The nonprofit agency, launched in 1980, was among the state’s first hospices working with terminally ill patients and their families. It also has been among the state’s largest such agencies.

The concerts began in 1986 with the Glenn Miller Orchestra and quickly grew in popularity after switching to a rock ’n’ roll theme in 1987 with the Drifters and the Platters. Several events have raised more than $100,000 for hospice through raffle ticket sales, T-shirts and other items.

Local band 40 Years of College, a veteran of Hospice concerts, will open the show with guest vocalist Janie Gordon. She performed with the group several years ago, giving it more versatility with covers of female pop rock artists’ tunes.

One behind-the-scenes change this year is that Hospice has added a weather insurance clause that will help it cover financial losses in case the event is rained out. The gathering has been affected by inclement weather the past three years.

Last year’s show with Tommy James and the Shondells was rained out, resulting in losses originally totaling $50,000 before other fundraisers unfolded.

The concert in 2012 with Three Dog Night was moved to Columbus North High School gym three days beforehand because of forecast severe storms spinning off Hurricane Isaac. That show drew about 3,000, slightly less than the gym’s half-capacity and much less than the 10,000 to 15,000 the event had drawn in previous concerts at the park.

In 2011, the concert was canceled when a severe storm hit the park before headliner Grand Funk Railroad could take the amphitheater stage.

“There is no Plan B,” said Laura Hurt, president of Our Hospice. “We cannot move a concert (inside) anymore. That creates a very stressful situation both for our staff and our volunteers.”

Hurt said Hospice’s expenses for a headliner are up slightly this year. But she expects the biggest expense increase to be with lighting, since it is having to work with a new firm for that.

She also said the concert is more important today than years ago for the agency because it is now competing with several other hospices operating in the area.

About the Our Hospice concert

Performers: Headliner is 1970s rock act Kansas, which has enjoyed a resurgence of sorts in recent years with top-ticket arena and festival shows. Opening band will be the winner of the Battle of the Bands in early August. Next will be Columbus’ 40 Years of College, doing a mix of classic rock and originals.

When: 6:15 p.m. Aug. 30

Where: Mill Race Park, Fifth and Lindsey streets

Information: 314-8000 or ourhospice.org

Admission: Free

How to help Our Hospice

The 28th Annual Our Hospice of South Central Indiana concert is three months away. But you already can help the nonprofit agency with its work with the terminally ill and their families.

Fundraising T-shirts are expected to be available soon. And $10 raffle tickets for a $10,000 prize will be available Sunday at the hospice office at 2626 E. 17th St. in Columbus.

Plus, the agency also receives donations. Those can be sent to the street address with a zip code of 47201.

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