"It's an important event for me because I was on the Good Neighbor Homeless Shelter board for three years. I just rolled off," Devine said, adding other local members of the chorus include Don Jackson, Dave Elvers, Mac McKenzie, Frank Biscardi, Jake Simpson and Adam Gifford. "So it's important to me that Good Neighbor Homeless Shelter has successful fundraisers. So I enjoy the Big Chicken aspect and I enjoy the aspect of the event, that it raises money for the shelter.
"The chorus members get a great deal of satisfaction of providing the type of entertainment that most people enjoy. We do a little bit of many different types of music. We do patriotic. We do religious. We do ballads. We do some comedy. So we like to think that we sing the type of songs where we have something that pleases everybody."
To be presented at 7 p.m., the concert will be held Saturday, May 19, at The Grand Theatre, 7 N. Wall St. in Cartersville. In addition to the Big Chicken Chorus, the show also will feature the vocal talents of the women's a cappella barbershop chorus, Atlanta Harmony Celebration!
Since forming in 1996, the Good Neighbor Homeless Shelter has served more than 4,600 people. On average, the 4,600-square-foot facility that was built in 2001 assists nearly 375 individuals per year. While they are housed, Good Neighbor's guests are required to find a job within four weeks, and the shelter's staff helps them establish savings, focus on problem-solving skills and chart out future housing options.
With an annual budget of about $260,000, the Good Neighbor raises more than $200,000 per year through special events and donations. Looking to generate at least $6,000 through the Big Chicken Chorus' concert, the nonprofit will put the benefit's proceeds toward its general operating fund.
"Our organization only receives 5 percent government funding of any kind," said Jessica Mitcham, the Good Neighbor's executive director. "This year, we'll get about $12,000 from the Department of Community Affairs. All of the rest of the dollars that support the shelter are raised locally. We are a United Way partner agency, so they do some of that work for us. And we are really thankful of the work that our local United Way does to reach out to donors that we probably would never have the opportunity to engage to donate to all of the partner agencies. But after the United Way contribution ... we still need to raise a little over $200,000 this year to make the shelter possible.
"Good Neighbor Homeless Shelter only exists in Cartersville because the community supports it. It would not be here otherwise. So events like the Big Chicken Concert are so important for us to raise the dollars we need to make the shelter possible day in and day out, so that we can serve men, women and families in our community that are trying, working hard to get back on their feet and just need someplace to go."
Tickets for the Big Chicken Chorus' concert cost $18 for general admission. For more information or to obtain tickets in advance, call 770-386-7343 or visit The Grand Theatre ticket office Monday through Friday from 8 to 11 a.m. and 12:30 to 5 p.m.