Gloucester performers head to Carnegie Hall on peace tour

©2011 Wicked Local Gloucester. Some rights reserved
By Keith Powers/Correspondent
Cape Ann Beacon

Chelsea Berry
Chelsea Berry, Singer/Songwriter photo by Louise

Sometimes having a dream gets even better when you meet someone else who has the same dream.

Musician Chris Willey of Gloucester imagined a huge, multi-day festival — he calls it SoundOut 11/11/11 — that would bring artists from around the world together to promote peace.

Phil Kanakis imagined a world tour, now called Turn Up the Peace, that would pursue the same goals.

When they met — on Facebook—“it was kinda like my life mission appeared in front of me,” says Willey, “and the same thing had happened to Phil. We realized that Turn Up the Peace would culminate in SoundOut 11/11/11.”

And so the planning for the events began, and the idea has grown into an initiative of staggering ambition. Kicking off with a gala concert at Carnegie Hall on Feb. 25, Turn Up the Peace will embark on a world tour featuring multiple dates in the U.S., Australia, Sri Lanka, Japan, South Africa and Europe, with possible dates in North Korea still in the planning stages. The global tour then crescendos in a three-day festival back in the American Midwest — an event Willey says “will take place on a sacred space of more than a million acres” — featuring numerous personalities, spiritual leaders and musicians from around the globe who have participated in the tour.

“Through the process of getting to know each other we realized that our goals were one and the same,” Willey said from his home in Gloucester. “But there have been all kinds of changes along the way, stressful but energizing. It’s a mission focused on peace and unity.”

The Carnegie Hall concert, hosted by celebrity Marla Maples, features a long list of performers including Livingston Taylor, Dan Reed, “American Idol” star Ayla Brown, the Chamber Orchestra of New York, the Turn Up the Peace Choir, as well as local representation from singer/songwriter Chelsea Berry and the Cape Ann Center for Dance performance group.

“The core group will travel on tour,” Willey says, “and we will take that core team and blend in with local artists wherever we are. We aim to send a positive message, not a negative one, and so we will focus on the positive vibrations in the world. We’re being very careful about who we work with—we want our sponsors to be in line with what we are aiming toward.”

If you go…

What: Turn Up the Peace world tour kick-off
Where: Carnegie Hall, 57th and 7th Avenue, New York, N.Y.
When: Tuesday, Jan. 25, 8 p.m.
Tickets: $40-$249. For tickets and information visit www.carnegiehall.org or call 212-247-7800.

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