‘One band and many voices’ set for State College concert that aims to spread hope

Sometimes, all it takes to get by is a little hope — that’s the energy behind The Philosophy of Hope, a musical journey taking place at The State Theater starting at 7 p.m. Sept. 21. The event will benefit the Jana Marie Foundation, a State College-based organization devoted helping people in and changing perspectives about emotional distress.

The night is headlined by Ken Baxter and a band of local all stars, including his son Nicholai Baxter, a five-time Grammy Award-winning sound engineer.

”The tagline is, one night, one band and many voices,” said event producer Jenny Hwozdek, “versus the multiple line-up with a theme, which is the classic structure for many of the fundraisers in town.”

In addition to both Baxters, members of the band include Molly Countermine, Rene Witzke, Daryl Branford, Ted McCloskey, Richard Sleigh, Liz Grove, Steve Christensen and the Delta Middle School Choir.

”The goal of the night is we have all of these people together in one band,” Hwozdek said, “and that the night is a musical journey. That’s the concept of The Philosophy of Hope, and to mirror the work that Jana Marie does in the community: how you move from adversity to hope.”

As bandleader of the evening, Ken Baxter’s connection to the Jana Marie Foundation emerged out of tragedy when he lost his younger son to suicide. Therefore, the evening’s music will be more of a journey that takes those in attendance through Baxter’s personal experience, starting with tragedy and evolving into hope.

“If you’re coming, you know why you’re coming,” Ken Baxter said. “So, we mention, ‘here’s why we’re here,’ but we’re not going to give you speakers. We’re going to tell a story through music. It’s almost a theater aspect to what we’re doing.”

Hwozdek said it was also important that the event be affordable.

“We want people to come, and we really want to fill every seat in that audience because it’s way more fun,” she said. “So, our goal is to keep it very affordable, and we’ve been so fortunate to have so many wonderful sponsors.”

For the musicians, it seems to be quite the honor to play for such a heartfelt cause, and to do so in such a great venue, playing with some of the best performers our area has to offer.

”Anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation,” singer Molly Countermine wrote, “these are real struggles that everyone is touched by in some way, and hope is an antidote to those things.”

For more information, visit https://janamariefoundation.org/event/philosophy-of-hope-concert/.

Kevin Briggs is a writer, researcher and musician who performs at venues throughout central Pennsylvania. Contact him at KevinTBriggs@gmail.com.