Music with a mission – literally – returns to the Gallo Center for the Arts later this month.
Dove Award-nominated singer and “American Idol” finalist Danny Gokey performs Oct. 28 during a gala benefit for the Modesto Gospel Mission. The evening includes the concert along with a pre-show reception featuring appetizers by Modesto-area chefs.
This marks the second year of the benefit gala as well as a TV competition show connection – last year, performance artist David Garibaldi from “America’s Got Talent” headlined.
Kevin Carroll, Modesto Gospel Mission’s executive director and CEO, said Gokey is a good fit for the gala because of his appeal to all audiences, both Christian and secular.
“There are a lot of people that are interested in supporting Modesto Gospel Mission even if they’re not Christian because of the good social services we provide,” Carroll said in an email.
The singer also has a personal mission that very much complements that of the Modesto nonprofit, which provides meals, shelter and other services to those most in need across the area, Carroll said.
Gokey began his career in country music with the single “My Best Days Are Ahead of Me” off the 2010 debut album “My Best Days.” He moved to contemporary Christian music with his second full-length album in 2014, “Hope in Front of Me.”
Gokey founded Sophia’s Heart, a Milwaukee foundation that helps families who have been hurt by poverty, sickness, disease and broken homes.
“That is obviously closely aligned with what we do,” Carroll said.
Sophia’s Heart is named for Gokey’s first wife, who died just weeks before he made the cut for Season 8 of “American Idol.” The former church music director from Wisconsin had married his high school sweetheart in 2004; four years later, she died from complications after surgery for a congenital heart condition.
“Everything that could go wrong did go wrong with that surgery,” Gokey told the Tri-City Herald in Kennewick, Wash., in 2014. “Sophia, who was born with a heart condition, had always been a fan of ‘American Idol’ and pushed me to try out. I wasn’t so sure, because I was pushing the age limit at 28 to audition, but she kept after me, made me promise I’d do it. When she died, I wasn’t sure I’d go through with it.”
But he did go through with it and proved popular with audiences, landing him a third place finish on the competition show.
Gokey since has remarried, in 2012 to Leyicet Peralta, and the couple have two young children.
He was nominated this year for a pair of Gospel Music Association Dove Awards – as best new artist and for song of the year for his hit “Hope in Front of Me.”
He’ll bring that song and more to the Modesto benefit, which quickly has become the largest fundraiser for the Gospel Mission, Carroll said. Previously, the Mission held an annual sit-down banquet, that mostly attracted regular supporters.
Hoping to find new supporters, the gala was designed to draw people who might not be aware of all the Gospel Mission does, Carroll said.
“Even by coming to the event and enjoying themselves, the public is supporting Modesto Gospel Mission. Every ticket sold helps,” he said, adding that funds raised will go to the organization’s new Women and Children’s Center. “This is a great opportunity for the public to do something to help the homeless and needy in our community while having great evening out.”
Pat Clark: 209-578-2312