Frank Sinatra, Jr. kicks off the Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign

Packer great LeRoy Butler is honorary chair of the benefit concert, to be held this Friday.

By - Oct 30th, 2012 02:02 pm

A true sign of the start to the holiday season

As soon as the Salvation Army’s Red Kettles start appearing around the city, you can the feel a shift in the season, spirits being lifted. The bells and kettles mark the unofficial start to the holidays and the season of charity.

This year, a  benefit concert featuring Frank Sinatra, Jr., will boost the Red Kettle campaign. Packers great LeRoy Butler is serving as Honorary Chairman of the event. Both celebrities are thrilled to be a part of the campaign, and hope that the evening provides a lovely and special way to contribute to the Salvation Army’s cause.

Former Packer LeRoy Butler personally benefited from the Salvation Army as a youth.

“When I was nine I was an inner-city kid in a single parent home, and I remember getting a new pair of shoes from Salvation Army,” says Butler, “I’ll never forget, it was a time I felt free of negative criticism—being a poor African American kid was tough. Salvation Army helped me grow.”

Butler will continue offering his services throughout the year.

“I act as a spokesperson, serve food at the shelters, help unload clothes at the distribution center,” Butler said. “I’ll lead a youth football camp next summer and hold a training seminar for men and woman to develop their social skills. And I love to cook, I’m teaching them how to cook. The Salvation Army does great work in social issues; I’m just really excited to help.”

Major Roger Ross, the Salvation Army’s Milwaukee County Commander, says that the Sinatra concert will contribute significantly to the annual budget for year-round services and major programs.

“We offer an incredible amount of services,” he says, “Feed the Kids in the summertime, the Toy Shop program, emergency services, distribution centers, transitional housing, community centers, senior housing… over 4,000 families were helped by the Salvation Army last year. When you do the math, that’s a lot of cared-for people. Hundreds of thousands have been helped, and this concert will be a huge event benefiting those services.”

Former Packer LeRoy Butler serves as Honorary Chair

Sinatra has worked with the Salvation Army throughout the years and given a number of benefit concerts.

Sinatra Sings Sinatra at the Red Kettle benefit concert.

“I’ve been performing this music for 50 years,” Sinatra said. “It’s the music we’ve always made. The tone of the music is nostalgic. It will be a really nice evening.”

Major Ross says the level of excitement for the concert is very high.

“The last benefit concert was six years ago with Tony Bennett, he said. “We really want [the concerts] to turn into an annual event. Frank Sinatra, Jr. was thought of as someone who would provide quality music and draw an audience. We hope folks take advantage to be apart of the fundraiser. It’s a program where we hope people will be inspired by what Salvation Army is doing, and inspired by the music.”

LeRoy Butler also spoke with enthusiasm about the upcoming show.

“I’m excited that everybody will be all dressed up, it’s similar to a red carpet event,” Butler said. ” The music is universal; everyone likes it. There is no age barrier, everyone will be having fun.”

A silent audition will accompany the concert. The auction fundraising goal is $25,000, and the overall goal is $200,000.

“This music has the ability to survive generations,” says Sinatra, Jr., “It has to do with the material itself—it’s the kind of music that tells a story. It’s amorous and funny. It brings you back to an era with a certain quality that has tended to be forgotten.”

With Frank Sinatra’s iconic music headlining the evening, hopefully the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign kick-off will be an enormous success.

The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign benefit concert featuring Frank Sinatra, Jr. will be held this Friday, Nov. 2, at The Pabst Theater. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., purchase tickets for $60, $85, or $125 online or call the box office at 414-286-3663.

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