Camp Dreamcatcher to host benefit concert

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Popular singer-songwriter John Flynn will take stage

Singer-songwriter John Flynn will perform Friday night in Philadelphia at a benefit concert for Camp Dreamcatcher, a Kennett Square-based nonprofit.

Singer-songwriter John Flynn will perform Friday night in Philadelphia at a benefit concert for Camp Dreamcatcher, a Kennett Square-based nonprofit.

Another reason to give thanks this week: Camp Dreamcatcher, which offers an annual nurturing respite for children coping with the HIV/AIDS infection of a family member, the death of one or both parents, or their own HIV/AIDS infection.

The nonprofit, which is based in Kennett Square, is hosting its Annual Thanksgiving Camp Dreamcatcher Benefit Concert featuring local singer-songwriter John Flynn on Friday, Nov. 29.

While other camps existed for disadvantaged children and those with serious illnesses, Patty Hillkirk, a psychotherapist, said she founded Camp Dreamcatcher to offer more than just a fun, outdoor experience. She felt it was also important for the kids to have a special, safe place to express their feelings of fear, sadness and anger with adults who understand and with children who may share their burdens.

During one week in August, children ages 5 to 17 attend Camp Dreamcatcher with over 260 counselors, medical staff and other professionals, who volunteer their expertise to make the camp an unforgettable experience for the children. There is no charge for any of the services; all funds are raised from foundations, the United Way of Southern Chester County, corporations, individuals, and fund-raising events like Friday’s concert with Flynn, a local favorite.

Flynn, a self-professed “painfully straight” arrow, was named president of the National Honor Society at Ridley High and Scholar Athlete of the Year while receiving two congressional nominations to the United States Naval Academy, according to his web site. He was making plans to play lacrosse for Navy when he found out he would not be able to take his guitar with him to Annapolis. The thought of leaving it behind, even for a few months, prompted him to change course and put himself through Temple University playing in bar bands.

Though his degree was in political science, he abandoned the idea of studying law when he was offered a staff songwriting position at Combine Music in Nashville, following Billy Swan’s Top 40 country recording of Flynn’s song “Rainbows and Butterflies”. 

Swan introduced Flynn to Kris Kristofferson, who became one of Flynn’s biggest supporters and has sung on two of Flynn’s CDS, the web site said.

Flynn’s shows draw from a significant body of work, ranging from his early country offerings to story songs, kids’ songs, love songs, and songs of social justice. The 54 year-old father of four spurned touring when his children were young, but as the kids grew older superlatives began to welcome their dad’s arrival to the national folk stage. In 2005, Arlo Guthrie invited Flynn to join musical legends like Willle Nelson and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott on the historic “Train to New Orleans” tour following Hurricane Katrina, the web site said. 

For more information, visit http://www.johnflynn.net.

The concert will be held from 8 to 10 p.m. at Jamey’s House of Music, 5841 Overbrook Ave, Philadelphia, 19131. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door. To purchase tickets, visit http://psalmsalon.ticketleap.com/john-flynn3/.

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