Larnell Starkey and the Spiritual Seven are coming to Milford on May 3 to help out a local family.
Tyler Wright, a 29-year-old husband and father, has been battling appendiceal cancer for the past two years.
Dale Ballew, a longtime friend of the Wright family, wanted to help out, so he’s organized a benefit concert to raise funds to offset mounting medical costs.
The concert will take place Saturday, May 3 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Caroline Community Center.
Larnell Starkey and the Spiritual Seven will perform gospel music, which band manager Dar Alexander described as “traditional with a contemporary twist.”
“We will have a variety of music for the young and old,” Alexander said.
A “love offering” will be collected at intermission, and the funds raised will be presented to the family at the end of the event. Refreshments will be provided, courtesy of Susan and Jeff Sili.
Ballew said, “I feel like God has given me a couple of chances in life, and this is a way of me to help repay a little bit, do something for the Wright family and help them, because they need it.”
He said he was impressed when he first heard Larnell Starkey and the Spiritual Seven at a church function four years ago.
“They’re not just run of the mill. They’re professional,” he said.
Ballew described the group as sounding like “the Temptations, only they’re doing gospel.”
He and the band previously collaborated on a fundraiser to benefit Haiti, though cancer is a subject that hits closer to home for the family band.
Alexander said two of the band members are cancer survivors.
“After God had healed them, we knew we had to help anyone we heard is in need of financial assistance,” she said.
Alexander added, “No one knows when we may be stricken with cancer or any disease. We urge everyone come out and help this family.”
Ballew said the auditorium in the community center can seat up to 417 people, and nearly 300 tickets were already sold as of April 17. He hopes to pack the room.
Tickets can be purchased through Ballew, Alice Farmer at Nationwide Insurance, and Kathy McVay, the county’s voter registrar.
The cost is $15 per ticket. After expenses are covered, everything else will go to the Wright family.
“If you need a ticket, and you can’t get to us, we’ll bring it to you,” Ballew said.
Ballew encouraged the community to “be supportive and let the family know you’re there for them.”
Anyone who can’t attend the concert but would like to contribute should contact Ballew at (804) 513-9853.
Alexander said concert-goers will “have a great time with gospel music and song.”
Larnell Starkey and the Spiritual Seven are from Wirtz, Va., and have been touring throughout the United States since 1968.
Sponsors of the benefit concert include: C-T Beazley Hauling and Farms, Maxie Broaddus, Andy Farmer, Cindy Tignor with the Caroline Communications Center, Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, Ed Webb, Watts Construction, April Weld, Nationwide Grant Agency, the UPS Store Ladysmith, The Timbers restaurant, Susan and Jeff Sili, Dawn Haun with the Caroline Progress, English Acres, and Al Claiborne with Advertising Promotions & Design.