How Melody of Hope is Helping Those in Need with Music
How Melody of Hope is Helping Those in Need with Music
Melody of Hope is a non-profit that supports other nonprofits by providing musical entertainments for their events. Founded in 2013 by Charlie Wendell, Melody of Hope is a part of 50+ nonprofit events each year.
In this episode of The Frisco Podcast, Charlie gives us the breakdown of what Melody of Hope does, how nonprofits can work with them, and how the organization is growing to support even more nonprofits in our community.
Tune in to hear about the events they’ll support through the end of this year. And, learn how you can help by attending the one event they do every year to support themselves so they can continue supporting others, the Melody of Hope Christmas Gala in December.
[00:34] What is Melody of Hope.
[03:27] Who are some of the non-profits Melody of Hope is working with this year?
[04:36] How did Melody of Hope get started?
[08:13] Is the Ark of The Covenant in Ethiopia?
[09:14] 2019 Upcoming events for Melody of Hope.
[13:00] The need in Frisco.
[14:28] How nonprofits can work with Melody of Hope and how you can get involved.
[18:10] What kinds of events does Melody of Hope help with?
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Scott Ellis: Welcome to The Frisco Podcast. I’m your host, Scott Ellis. And today I am joined by Charlie Windell from Melody of Hope. Charlie, welcome to the show.
Charlie: Hi, thank you so much for having me. Y’All are so great.
Scott: Thrilled to have you here because we’re going to talk about a subject today that is near and dear to both of our hearts, music, but you’re taking what you’re doing with music and doing something really well beyond that and doing a lot of good with music. So I’m very excited to hear you tell myself and everybody listening. What is Melody of Hope and how did you get started?
Charlie Wendell: Absolutely. Well, once again, thank you so much for having me. I feel honored to be on your podcast. I’m, you and Wendy are just incredible people and I’ve gotten to know you guys over the last two years and so I really appreciate it. Um, so in a nutshell, Melody of Hope, we are a music nonprofit that does benefit concerts and builds live music programs into nonprofit events. And so we partner with about 16 nonprofits a year. Um, in January. Our board votes on the nonprofits we partner with and we basically provide free of charge, live music programs and to all of their events. And so, um, you know, we’re doing the camp cro gala barbecue, we’re doing the Frisco arts walk in the fall, so there’s a ton of nonprofit events, um, that are already happening in the community. So we really want to come alongside of what they’re already doing and help in, you know, in any capacity that we can. Um, and the foundation of what we do though is based on the Gospel. And so we share the gospel at every event we do. That’s kind of the trade-off is, you know, we provide this free musical talent and production and then we get the stage for like a minute to share, you know, about the true hope that we believe in, which is found in Christ. So that’s the foundation of it. Yeah.
Scott: Okay. Very good. So you would, would you consider yourselves a faith-based nonprofit?
Charlie: So government wise we are, um, I think our code is an x, which is a religious, but, um, you know, our mission is based on the Lord, but you know, we don’t just do Christian events. A lot of nonprofits that we’re helping, they don’t have a faith-based mission. Right. And so we really try to be in the community and do other nonprofit events, not just faith-based.
Scott: Well, you’re out there doing good and that’s what’s, that’s kind of the core of it. All right, cool. Thank you. [inaudible] is the, is is the model, if I’m a nonprofit and I’m having an event, usually having some kind of, or options are usually often having some kind of entertainment is a part of that. Sure. So is that what you guys are doing is to come in and help offset the cost that would normally be associated with having that entertainment there, that musical entertainment?
Charlie: Sure. And honestly, what we found is a lot of these nonprofit events, they didn’t have a music component to them. Um, you know, I think the best example I have is the Camp Curl Camp Craig Allen Barbecue. It’s a massive event and they had never had a musical component. And so we came in and basically built a music fest onto it. But it’s, it was interesting because not a lot of nonprofit events have the music component. They never thought about it, you know, it’s just their mission is not centered around music and so it’s just something that they had never thought about. But
Scott: I would imagine that serves as a good driver to get more people out and keep them there longer and taking part in, in the event. For sure.
Charlie: Yeah. We’ve, um, we hope to be just another outlet and a revenue stream for their event. And so like I had mentioned, we do everything free of free of charge and so we’ll help market the event, we’ll help market. The artists will help, you know, provide volunteers. We’re lucky to have about 25 committee members and board members that are, you know, in the community already. And so we have a couple of different outlets and how we can help not only with music, but other things.
Scott: Okay. Well, I know Amanda and team have done a great job with Camp Craig Allen. Yes. There were some of the other nonprofits that you guys are partnering with this year.
Charlie: Sure. Um, so we have Project Relo. We have Frisco Fastpacs, we have the YMCA, we have the Boys and Girls Club. We have, um, Edison Global. We have, um, Frisco Arts. We have, oh my gosh, National Breast Cancer Foundation. I feel like any nonprofit that you know, and Frisco we’re probably partnered with in some capacity, which is a great thing. I mean, we get inundated. I mean, the Lord has really blessed us and with all of our members and our board members really being out in the community, we, we seem to get inundated with a lot of different nonprofits that, you know, I’d never heard about. And so it’s really good because I have no idea. And I feel like a lot of people don’t really know what’s happening in their backyard. And so it’s great to have these nonprofits that I never heard about. Just be like, Oh hey, we heard about you. Can you help us? And so it’s just, it helps me, you know, hear about everything that’s going on in the community.
Scott: Yeah. And I think you guys are a part of our GiveForFrisco initiative. Yes. And I think there are something like 60 nonprofits on there. All of whom serve, most of them are in Frisco, but all of them serve Frisco in some way. There’s a lot of worthwhile causes.
Charlie: Yeah. Thank you. But we love what you guys are doing.
Scott: So how, how did you come up with this idea though, and what was the history of, of Melody of Hope?
Charlie: So it’s kind of a crazy story. Um, I used to work for a record label when I was in Grad school and it was a rap record label. And so if you’ve noticed, you know, I love rap music and you know, all these rap concerts, Ashley Miller and I are soul sisters. We go to all these rap concerts together. Um, so I worked there for two years. And, you know, I just felt like God was really moving me out of there. I had, it was just a feeling, I don’t know how to explain it, but, um, I just saw all the good that music could do in the world. And sometimes, you know, rappers, the music industry is a very dark industry
Scott: It can be a very dark industry.
Charlie: Um, there is a lot of good that’s happening in the music industry of course, but I just thought, you know, there’s so much good that can be done with music.
And so, um, after deciding to get out of there, I felt the Lord was moving me to Africa. So I lived there for about a year. Um, I came back early cause I’ve got a parasite, it’s a long story. But I had started kind of restructuring a business plan that I had created in Grad school that was, uh, around like a traveling music show. And so living in Africa, I saw how, how easy it was to help the local community. And so coming back, I thought, you know, it’s so much easier to just start where you are. And there’s so much happening in your backyard like I had mentioned. And so that’s really how Melody of Hope came about is, you know, how can we use good to help with music and people and just spread the love of Jesus. And that’s really, you know, how it came about.
Scott: Interesting. What part of Africa, where you living in?
Charlie: So I lived in Ethiopia. Addis Ababa is the capital and I was there with a ministry called campus crusade. And we worked in college campuses. I actually taught doctors, which is crazy because they were so much smarter than me, but know teaching them just how to share the gospel and just how to, you know, it’s church pair, church organization. And so we just help them, you know, share the gospel in their community. And we did a lot of, um, mission work in orphanages and, you know, Coray which is the trash dump there. And so we just did a lot of, um, humanitarian stuff as well.
Scott: Interesting. I’m sure that was still very fulfilling work to do while you were there. It was, um, you know, I feel like, I don’t know, something about helping people. It just really impacts your heart and your soul.
Charlie: And it was just a really sad to see everything that, you know, majority of the world lives like that on less than a dollar a day. And we’re so blessed as Americans and we just don’t realize it. And so it’s easy to, you know, get caught up in the day to day things and you know, get upset with things. But the majority of the world is lives on less than a dollar a day, which is, it’s almost hard to imagine.
Scott: So crazy roll through Starbucks and spend three or four bucks on a cup of coffee. Absolutely. And for some people that would be a week’s worth of income.
Charlie: I really struggled with that coming back because, um, Ethiopia is like the coffee capital of the world. And so I could get coffee for like 10 cents and this was like incredible, like top of the line coffee. And then the week I was back, I was at Starbucks, you know, drop him five bucks.
And I remember thinking, this is someone’s entire like weeks worth of wages. So it was convicting, but then I really, I realized that you shouldn’t feel bad for your blessings. They’re just, they’re given to you by God so you can help others. And so anyways, it really changed my mindset on helping and not feeling bad for what we were blessed with.
Scott: Not to get completely off track if Ethiopia is an interesting place to me. So my uncle was there in the peace corps and like, okay, wow, okay. Um, he was a couple of parts of Africa and he was in Ethiopia and Kenya and maybe somewhere else. Um, but because of that, I always, he would send me postcards and tee shirts and things when I was a kid and I would always have this sort of fascination with that location. And if I’m not mistaken, Ethiopia actually has a huge Christian population.
Charlie: They do. Absolutely.
Scott: It’s one of the, um, one of the places where supposedly in a church in Ethiopia is the resting place of the lost Ark of the covenant.
Charlie: I knew you’re going to say that they think that they won’t let anybody in there to see it’s in a rock church. It’s um, they’re built up, it’s called Lali Bella is the name of the town. Um, but there are all these rock churches and apparently it’s the arc of the covenant is there. Yeah, that’s what they say. But fortunately, they won’t let anybody in to look at it.
Scott: And there’s like, isn’t there like one guy that’s allowed to go inside for maintenance and when he dies and there’s one other guy that takes over.
Charlie: But for sure it’s a, it’s a different concept. I mean biblically, I think that the Gospel, that was the second place the Gospel was taken. And so I get what they’re, you know, I can kind of wrap my head around it, but you know, one person being able to see it. That’s not,
Scott: No, no, no, nothing like that either. I would like to know for sure if they’re just stating the archeological story of a historical and religious kind of component. But absolutely. Anyways, that’s a complete sidebar. Let’s come back to Melody of Hope. Okay. Let’s come back to talking about what you guys are doing. So, um, we’ve talked about who you’ve partnered with and what are some of the upcoming events, uh, maybe through the end of the year that you guys have.
Charlie: Right, right. Yeah. So, um, we have about 50 events throughout the year and I think the majority of them happened in the fall. And so, like I’d mentioned the camp corral barbecue, the Frisco arts walk and run, we’re partnered with a ministry called Tabitha s. T they empower women, they do Bible Studies. We’re doing that event. Um, we are working on, trying to think off the top of my head. Um, Briscoe fastbacks has an event at the end of October. Um, it’s the empty bowls. Uh, it’s a series of the empty bowls event that they did. Um, but our biggest event is our Christmas gala. And, um, I don’t think a lot of people know this, but our Christmas gala is the only event that we actually do for ourself. We do North Texas giving day, but that’s not really an event. That’s just an all day giving know. Um, and then, um, GiveForFrisco.
So there are two events we do, but this is the big event we do for ourselves. And so, um, it is on December 7th, and it is right here in Frisco. We’ve found that moving our events are Frisco last year. Oh my gosh. Increased our attendance by at least 25 to 30%. And so we’re like, well, we’re Santa Frisco, which, you know, I kinda thought that was gonna happen anyway, you guys. And we’re so happy to be here. Um, and another blessing, we’ve outgrown every venue except for two. And so I’m, the embassy suites is graciously hosting us. Um, you know, the capacity is we could have about 2000 people there, you know, if God willing, you know, we’re able to have that many people there. That’s the goal. Yep. Um, but there’s a lot of room for growth there. And our gala is a masquerade theme. This year.
We’ve never had a theme, so our board decided, you know, we need to have something different. And so the theme is Masquerade this year and we’re going to have probably four or five different types of live music. We have a silent auction, you know, played a dinner or drinks at your typical gala, but just kind of a concert feel. And so, um, our events are really fun. You know, we have people on the dance floor all night. We have a short programming, about 30 40 minutes to let our attendees hear about what we’re doing. And I think the coolest component is we highlight the nonprofits that we’re already partnering with. And so we give nonprofits free partnerships and sponsorships to the gala so they can come and set up a booth so all of our attendees can kind of see what’s happening. You know, they hear about what these nonprofits are doing from our social media and our website. But it’s, they get to hands on, see what they’re doing and talk to the executive directors and some of their board members. And so it really is to highlight some of the nonprofits in the community as well.
Scott: Okay. Wonderful. Yeah. Can you, can you tell us, do you know already who the performers are going to be in December or is that still undetermined?
Charlie: So I know too, we don’t, we haven’t solidified all for, um, we’re working on a bigger named artists at an Asheville. That was actually one of our original board members. Um, I don’t know if I should tell, but we can keep a secret. I’ll tell you, I’m under the table after the podcast.
Scott: When, when the mics are off. Sorry you, you aren’t gonna find out for a while. You have to come on December the 7th to find out. Um, but Tyler Hook is one of our local performers and then Kelvin Thomas, um, he is, he’s done a lot of events for us and so we have a couple of performers already solidified.
Scott: And if for those that aren’t familiar with them, what styles of music are those?
Charlie: So Kelvin, I don’t know if you know Leah. I know you’re a big music fan, so you probably know Leon bridges. He kind of sounds like Leon bridges. Tyler Hook is more of your pop rock, like acoustic singer-songwriter. Gotcha. So there’s a couple of different genres. Um, and we are doing a VIP reception right before the gala for our sponsors. Um, you know, including you guys. Thank you so much for being a gracious sponsor. Oh my gosh, Wendi, you guys sponsored it last year and so y’all are actually, one of the hosts for the VIP reception that we’re doing and we’ll have, um, a different type of artist at that as well. Okay. We’re not sure on that artist yet. That’s not a secret. We just haven’t solidified the artist. Hopefully. Um, we’re looking at a female piano player here in Frisco. She’s incredible. Sounds like lady Gaga, so, oh yeah. There’s so much incredible talent in Briscoe.
Scott: It really is. Um, but going to, going back to your mission of helping people, it’s easy when you live in a town like Frisco, that is as affluent as we are, even relative to just the rest of the United States as much less the rest of the, you know, other parts of the world to not realize how much need there still is in Frisco in a number of ways. Right. There’s a lot of, there is homelessness here, there are a lot of people that need help with food and things like that. So you know, all of these nonprofits definitely need our support and loved what you guys are doing to support them and help them kind of grow and increase what they’re doing in, in the community that we live in. Because that’s where it really starts. Right.
Charlie: I’m a firm believer in that. Yeah. You know, living overseas, I think that if you have a heart for doing ministry or helping overseas, then you know, go for it. But it’s so much easier to start in your local community. And you know, Frisco fastbacks is a great example to me because they like, who knew a thousand kids in Frisco over a thousand kids didn’t have food on the weekend in such an affluent city like Briscoe, like you just have no idea. And so it’s just, you know, it’s ignorance and people just have no idea what’s going on and it’s not bad. You know, ignorance is, bliss is one of my favorite statements. Sometimes it’s don’t know.
Scott: But if you don’t know that those things are happening, then you’re probably not inclined to go out and try to solve or help solve those problems. And if you do know, then it’s much easier to get involved and, and it doesn’t really take much to do that. You know, there’s a lot of good organizations out there doing a lot of great work and, um, so for, for the nonprofits that are out there, uh, and, and in that community might be listening to this podcast if they wanted to work with melody of hope, what is their process for doing that?
Charlie: Sure. So in January, um, we send out an application, so we’ll post it all over social media. Um, and the nonprofits that reach out to me during the year, they can sign up on our newsletter list and they’ll get the application. But we’ve tried to streamline how many nonprofits we help only because if we have like, you know, 50 events a year, it’s easier for us to plan, know if people will apply in January, then we can help, you know, probably more people at one time. But they can apply through our application process. Okay. And you know, if we have the capacity to do it, like, you know, we’ll just take on events as they come, but it’s really hard for us because we’re so, you know, I’m the only paid employee. Um, and then, you know, we have a board and committee members, but it’s really hard to do over 50 events a year.
Scott: Well, yeah, I mean you, you’ve only got so much capacity to trying to do one event a week would be yes. I’m very challenging to say the least.
Charlie: Um, but we love helping, you know, so if any nonprofit is listening and they have an event, go ahead and email me. And if we have the artists that are available, you know, the dates available, then we would of course love to help. And if we can’t, um, pay for the artist, you know, if we don’t have the budget, then we can, you know, give you resources that maybe will allow you, so sponsors that will help, help pay for it. And so we have a ton of different resources available.
Scott: Okay. Is there any specific criteria people should know ahead of time? So before they apply, they know whether or not like I’m not gonna make it on this one because of x, y or Z. Right,
Charlie: right. So the only thing that we require is that you’d be local. Okay. So that’s it. So local is in DFW,
Scott: DFW. Okay. That was going to ask that. Yes. Yeah. For us, little local means, you know, for lifestyle Frisco, and I think a lot of people in our audience don’t know this. It means Frisco. Sure. But, but we don’t draw the borders as a hard line. It’s kind of a fuzzy line because if you live in, you know, far west Briscoe than what happens in little elm still matters. Now. We don’t necessarily talk a lot about as much about those surrounding communities, but we’ll certainly cover certain things that are happening now, including nonprofit events and things like that. So yeah, for sure. Okay. So they have to be local. Do they have to be like a registered 501c of some kind. Okay.
Charlie: I apologize. So there are two criteria. Is that just a 501c3 and then you have to just be a local organization. Okay. And that’s really it. Um, you know, and then based on the people that apply, so we’ve never not accepted our nonprofit. And so that lets me know that we do have the capacity to grow and we are growing. And so, you know, we have 16 partners this year. We had I think 13 last year. And so, you know, next year, probably 20 just based on how much we, we’d been growing. Okay. And we’re really thankful to have just incredible board of directors. I can’t say enough. I feel like that is really one of the foundational pieces of our nonprofit is who we have on our board. And they’re just so like we have a working board and they get out there and they promote and they sell a sponsorship. I mean, they’re just so great. And so,
Scott: So does your board stay the same all like all the time or do you cycle through people each year or how does that work?
Charlie: So I’m in our bylaws, it says that you can be a board member for as long as you want, but we do cycle. So our growth is, we have six board members now and we can grow up to 11, but we do, we’ve had some board members, you know, trickle out, um, you know, cause they moved or had, you know, babies and it’s hard to serve on the board with like four kids. So I get that. Um, but yeah, we cycle out, but you can stay a board member forever. It’s Kinda like I’m a judge being a judge. Wait, what’s the on a judge anyways. Yeah, yeah.
Scott: No, but that’s, that’s good to know. So if you’ve still got some capacity on the board, so if somebody is listening to this and they’re interested in being on your board and helping out in that way, um, reach out to Charlie. We’ll make sure we’ve got all of her contact info and website links and all that stuff in the show notes for this.
Charlie: We are taking applications. I’ve had a couple people ask me, okay, we just had a board retreat a couple of weeks ago. And so people have asked me, cause I seen pictures and stuff. So we do have an open application process that you know, throughout the year. Okay. So you’re interested.
Scott: And then one last question back on the events. Do you guys, so when you’re working with nonprofits and helping support their events, do you do all sizes of events?
Charlie: We do, yes. Okay. So it’s not just big Gail is, but if it’s a small, smaller type of events, absolutely you can still help them out with that. So we help ’em I’m involved with the Rotary Club and we do the farmer’s market.
We just provide the talent for that. And that’s a smaller event. Um, but then the Frisco pass pax event, their first empty bowls event was I think a hundred people and the Tabitha’s tea party, there’s like 40 people there. And then, you know, the first go arts walk is like 2000. And so, um, you know, like I said, if we just have the capacity to help and that’s, we will do that. Okay. Wonderful size. That sounds awesome. When is the date on your gala again? So it’s December the seventh. Um, you can find all firstname.lastname@example.org slash gala. We have a whole page dedicated to the gala. You know what to wear. It’s a strict black tie event. Um, it’s plated dinner drinks, music. I had mentioned that but we had, we’ve tried to change it up a little bit, um, in the past couple of years, but we’ve just found that, you know, played a dinner, works best every time and you know, drink tickets and then strict black tie.
So we haven’t been, we’ve tried to be strict black tie but we haven’t really enforced it. So this year it is.
Scott: Do you, I’m curious, how do you enforce it?
Charlie: You know, it’s hard. We posted on our website, you know, we tell our guests that it is black tie, but you know, if, I don’t know, we’ll have to discuss that as a board. Um, you know, next week when we have our board meeting.
Scott: One of our, one of our writers and our photographer Suad Bejtovic, you know, very fashionable, he’s a J. Hillburn rep. So I’m going to give him a plug if you guys need it. He’s great. And give Suad a call. He’s probably going to be on our fashion police and making sure that you’re there and dressed appropriately. So that’s what we’re going to enforce it. Suad I just put you on this hook for that.
Charlie: I’ll be calling you later today. We’ll get him a badge. Yes. He could be the official fashion enforcer.
Scott: I’m like, okay. We’ll see if he’s up for that. I don’t want to speak for him. He’s a great guy to call. If you need help in that department. I certainly do.
Charlie: So, oh my gosh, me too. I just look at Pinterest and then that’s really how I get everything.
Scott: It’s much harder for you. You guys have options like for guys pretty much means Tux for sure.
Charlie: Pretty much. Yeah. That’s kinda the end of the line right there. So yes. Tuxes and Ballgowns for females. I’m, and don’t forget a mask. Um, so I’ll tell your podcast this, but we’re not, you know, blasting this publicly yet. But if you don’t have a mass, we will have a mask tree that you can pull a mask from. So don’t stress over, you know, not being able to find a mass are going to be a cost for that. No cost, no cost, just your ticket cost and tickets are very cheap for a black tie gala there $100 if you buy early and then at the door they’re $125. Okay.
Scott: Now that’s exceptional.
Charlie: Yeah. And that, like I said, that includes everything
Scott: You should charge for the masks. I think that’s another good way to raise some funds.
Charlie: That’s a good idea. Yeah. I mean, I will say we did get most of them at dollar tree and so they were pretty cheap.
Scott: But okay, this is a fundraiser. We’re trying to help people out.
Charlie: So it is a fundraiser. Um, and so, you know, you can purchase silent auction items. We’re going to have a raffle. You know, there’s a lot of different ways that you can help support our cause too. Yeah. Yeah. And we’re hoping could, because tickets are so cheap, you know, we’ll get more of a party environment, you know, because there, you know, it’s just a great party to have. There’s not a lot of black tie events in Frisco, which there’s not. I’m talking to your wife last year, that was one of the things that she put in my head like, oh, there really isn’t. And so, um, you know, we’re hoping to be one of the two or three black tie events. Strict black tie.
Scott: Yeah. We’ll just go, you know, my wife, you know, she loves fashion and she would like to see more black tie events.
Charlie: She is goals getting dressed up and loves those kinds of things. So yeah. So we’re pushing that this year.
Scott: All right, good deal. Well, Charlie, thank you so much for coming out today. This has been a lot of fun. We’ll have you back on some time. We’ll talk some more about how things are going. Okay. And kind of what you got maybe queued up in 2020 but that’s a good rundown of what’s happening through the rest of this year.
Charlie: Wonderful. And thank you all so much again for being sponsors of the VIP reception. Y’All are presenting that and then you know of the gala. So we’re so thankful.
Scott: Oh, we’re honored to be a part of it, so thank you. Thank you so much, and thank all of you for tuning into The Frisco Podcast. If you haven’t already, subscribe to the podcast. I want you to go out to iTunes, Google Play, Stitchr, Spotify. Pretty much any place that you can find a podcast, you’re going to find The Frisco Podcast. Just search for the Frisco podcast. Please subscribe because that really helps us out. The more of you that are tuning in, the more we can bring on guests like Charlie and others that are doing great things in our community. So thank you. Please subscribe and we’ll catch you next time.
Charlie: Thanks, Scott.