Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

March 16, 2012

Tickets go on sale for Second Chance concert

BLUEFIELD, Va. — The telephones at the Second Chance Learning Center rocked steady Thursday morning as people started buying tickets to see Lee Brice, Jake Owen, Eric Church and Folk Soul Revival perform live in concert on June 29, at Mitchell Stadium in Bluefield.

“The phones have been constant all day long,” Erik Robinson said. Robinson is the executive director of the Second Chance Learning Center, an agency that helps high school students who are at risk of dropping out, refocus their efforts, complete their secondary education and continue education beyond the high school level.

“One thing we did differently this year from last was to do a pre-sale through Ticketmaster and on Facebook earlier this week,” Robinson said. “We sold 1,500 tickets that way. Here today, it has been constant. I’ve also been getting so many emails that my inbox is full. The concert is good for Second Chance and good for the entire community.”

The Second Chance Learning Center locations in Bluefield, Va., and Tazewell, Va., have been filled to capacity since it was launched seven years ago, according to Robinson, who developed the drop-out prevention program with his college roommate, retired Major League Baseball relief pitcher, Billy Wagner. During the past 7 years, Second Chance has fulfilled its promise by helping young people get through high school and into higher education.

“One of our graduates is now a sophomore at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va.,” Robinson. “He’s really an intelligent young man, but he was dealing with some social issues. We were able to help him regain his focus, and now he’s an honors student at VCU.

“He joined us at a fundraising dinner that we had in Richmond,” Robinson said. “Billy, Bill Buckner and Vida Blue were all there and spoke. This young man came up and spoke before a crowd of about 450 people attending the dinner. He did a great job.

“I’m proud of all of the kids who go through the program,” Robinson said. “When Southwest Virginia Community College has graduation, I’ll usually see a few kids walk across the stage,” Robinson said. “Some of the kids who trained as welders will be walking right into a job.”

Robinson said that even with moving the concert to Friday night, and having fewer performers, Second Chance has been very fortunate that all three artists — Brice, Owen and Church — all currently have songs in Billboard’s Country Music Top 25.

“Another benefit of having a Friday night concert, is that people who attend the concert might want to stay in the area for another day and see what else is in the area, this is a great opportunity for them,” Robinson said. “It’s also a benefit for the community.”

In addition to Second Chance tickets are available at the Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce,  the Harley-Davidson in Wytheville, Va., and nine Grants Supermarket locations including Bluefield, Green Valley, Princeton (New Hope Road),  Princeton (Athens Crossroads),  War, Richlands, Va., Rich Creek, and North Tazewell, Va.

“We have already sold a few tickets today,” Marc Meachum, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce said. “I remember last year when we could just provide information. I spoke with a man from Georgia and told him who the performers were and said that ticket prices ranged from $30 to $60. He asked me how much for all of them.

“I scratched my head and thought for a while, then I realized that he was thinking he would see one show, and have to clear out before the next performer started,” Meachum said. “He couldn’t believe that he could see all of those performers for as little as $30.”

Second Chance has awarded $75,000 in scholarships since it opened. In addition to Second Chance, the concerts benefit several community service agencies in the region that help young people.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com

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