The campaign to celebrate the birthday of Celtic Thunder singer Keith Harkin by raising money to support one of his favourite projects has smashed through its target and is now reaching for new heights.
The Keith Harkin Street Team are a devoted band of fans from all across the world.
They set about raising $2,800 to celebrate Harkin’s 28th birthday coming up soon. The idea was to give the money to the Horatio Alger Scholars scheme which provides scholarships to students that have faced adversity.
It’s been close to the Irish singer’s heart ever since 2013 when he attended one of the courses on a mentoring retreat to help children who had experienced great difficulties in life.
The team already surpassed the target and the money is still coming in as they try to push the total as high as possible.
Roxie Rycher, who is an admin at the Keith Harkin Street Team, has spoken to Irish Music Daily about the campaign and what it means to the team.
Irish Music Daily: What inspires you and the street team to support Keith in this way and how much does he means to you?
Roxie Rycher: The KHST formed in March 2013 during Keith’s solo spring US/CAN tour to assist him in spreading the word about his tour dates, other endeavors and for all around promotion of his music. When his birthday rolled around just three months later we wanted to give him a gift, but what? During a team brainstorming session we decided on a fundraising effort in his name. After some thought and research, we chose the VH1 Save The Music Foundation which supports music programs in America’s schools. Keith’s passion for music and starting his own performing career at age 4 really spurred us on to support this charity in Keith’s honor. Team membership was only in the hundreds at this point, yet we managed to raise $1747! Keith held an online chat two days after his birthday and we made the announcement of his gift during this chat. He was very grateful and thanked the team and VH1 Save The Music publicly on his Twitter page and during his chat. Because this was such a successful effort, we decided to hold an annual fundraiser for Keith’s birthday. This year we had the luxury of knowing how much Keith supports the Horatio Alger Scholars. During a subsequent online chat after his time on Necker Island attending the “Surviving and Thriving” mentoring retreat, he spoke about how touched he was and inspired by the stories of heart, dedication and perseverance these young people had. They went up against insurmountable odds, but kept pursing their dreams. The team knew then that a fundraiser for the Scholars would be our next fundraising gift to Keith.
Keith gives his all in his music and to his fans. We’ve witnessed first hand his dedication on his solo tours, where he takes everything on from booking his shows, driving the touring van miles and miles, loading his equipment in and out, performing stellar shows EVERY night and still takes the time to sign an autograph, have a chat and take a photo with everyone! He makes you feel as though you’re the only fan/friend in the room! He’s a true blue, what you see is what you get artist, which is refreshing in today’s music industry. His down to earth nature, drive, determination and courage to follow his dream inspires us! KHST members wish to give back to Keith for all the joy and meaning his music brings to our lives. So many stories about how Keith’s music got someone through this tough time or that seemingly hopeless moment, is without a doubt, priceless.
IMD: What is Keith’s involvement with the Horatio Alger Scholars? Has he done the retreat himself and if so why?
RR: During the Mohammed Ali Celebrity Fight Night, Keith was introduced to US business man and philanthropist Glenn Stearns and his wife, Mindy. They struck up a conversation about charity gigs and next thing you know, Keith was invited to attend the ‘Surviving and Thriving’ Mentoring Retreat on Necker Island to entertain the group with his heartfelt music. During his experience on Necker Island, Keith was inspired so much by the kids, he penned the tune “You Can Tell The World.”
IMD: How much contact does the street team have with Keith and has he said anything you about the fundraising?
RR: Keith follows the street team on Twitter and Instagram and has on many occasions, retweeted our posts, commented on photos, or asked for his fans to give us a follow on our social media pages. We speak to Keith at his gigs and have gotten his permission for our KHST badges (which he assisted with the design process) and Tshirts for our promotional use. Keith has a few times retweeted our fundraising efforts on Twitter and posted, “This is awesome!” on an Instagram photo announcing the fundraiser. Mr. Stearns posted this wonderful comment included with his donation on our fundraising page, “Keith Harkin is an amazing and talented artist. This opportunity for Horatio Alger also shows how much class he has. Way to go!”
To donate to the campaign you can visit their gofundme page