Though he is known to many as a reporter for the Missoulian, Jamie Kelly is no stranger to the stage. Having studied jazz piano at the University of Montana, Kelly has played his share of Garden City gigs over the years.
But when he sits down behind his keyboard this Saturday night at the Missoula Winery with his jazz group, the Indulge Quartet, Kelly will be playing with a new purpose – and looking ahead to an experience that only a few years ago would have seemed inconceivable to him.
“I’ve never done anything like this before,” said Kelly. “But my past life has kind of informed me in a very hard way about the value of giving. So that’s really what this is about for me personally.”
In early July, Kelly and a dozen other parishioners at Missoula’s First Presbyterian Church will depart Missoula for Nakuru, Kenya, a provincial capital in the mountains of that East African country. Over the course of two weeks, the delegation will visit with orphan children and AIDS-stricken women, distributing supplies and establishing bonds with some of the most economically challenged people on the planet.
Saturday’s concert, which also features local folk musician David Boone and blues wailer Kevin Van Dort, serves as an important first step on that journey by raising funds for the trip.
“I just felt something in me pulling and saying, go,” said Kelly. “The problem is, it’s expensive; and the Presbyterians aren’t exactly known for living in giant mansions on the hill. So this will be a big fundraiser for all of us, to help pay for not just travel expenses, but also gifts for the children, the supplies we’re bringing, books, toys, clothing for all the women and orphans.”
Saturday’s concert begins at 7 p.m., with a suggested donation of $20 at the door.