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Starved Rock Lodge hosts Cotton Patch Gospel for hunger relief

Published: Friday, May 3, 2013 3:22 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, May 3, 2013 3:24 p.m. CDT
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Phil Kaufmann

UTICA — Starved Rock Lodge at Starved Rock State Park partnered with local musician Phil Kaufmann to host Cotton Patch Gospel on March 25 and 26 and raised more than $2,000 to be donated to local and international agencies whose mission is to fight hunger.

This partnership between the Lodge and Kaufmann came about when activities director Edna Daugherty attended a performance of Cotton Patch Gospel and felt sure that it would be a good fit in the entertainment lineup at the Lodge. The fact that it would serve as a fundraiser to combat hunger was an especially effective motivator.

The Cotton Patch Gospel has its origins in the translation of the book of Matthew, authored by Dr. Clarence Jordan. Actor playwright Tom Key, inspired by Dr. Jordan’s writing, further developed the story of how Joe Davidson and Mary Hagler raised the most miraculous human ever to be born in Gainesville, Ga., (Jesus). After hearing the original one-man show, renowned singer/songwriter Harry Chapin was inspired to write music and lyrics and turned the show into a toe-tapping musical. Phil Kaufmann has now performed this one-man musical more than 70 times, portraying more than 20 characters in front of his video band where he plays 11 different instruments and sings his own backup harmonies. Over the past two years he has raised more than $77,000 for hunger. Next month Phil heads to Brooklyn, N.Y., where he will perform the show for Harry Chapin’s widow Sandy, who granted permission to Phil to record the show’s music.

Plans are in place to stage Cotton Patch Gospel at the Lodge again in March 2014.

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