"These two organizations (Manna Media and Turning Point Missions) are close to home," said Bulthuis during a recent interview.
Both of the non-profit ministries are headed by members of his Oakhill Presbyterian Church on Grand Rapids' northeast side.
LAYING THE GROUNDWORK
Bulthuis, 65, has developed a solid repertoire of Beatles' songs which will be the focus of the benefit show. In 2017 he and his band members performed the Fab Four's "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album in its entirety, celebrating the classic disc's 50th anniversary.
And through the years he has always sprinkled in originals from his Calvin College days such as "Calvin Girl" and "Cruising (Down the Beltline)."
For the Oct. 22 concert he has assembled 11 players – a five-piece brass section featuring Chris Hansen, and his own six-man Tonedeafs, anchored by long-time guitarist/vocalist Pete Bardolph. The combination brings an authentic sound to such Beatles standards as "Penny Lane," "Yellow Submarine" and "When I'm 64."
Bulthuis has produced seven separate recording projects of his music through the years, including a "Greatest Hits" album in 2008. He's long been associated with the Hark Up music organization and its various ensembles headed by Hansen, contributing vocals, guitar and banjo.
EXAMINING THE BENEFITS
Bulthuis has taken this concert and these benefit organizations under his wing, even to the point of heading up event ticket sales and distribution.
"Manna Media engages people with stories of the Christian message through various ways – often to people who aren't 'church people,'" said Bulthuis of its media efforts via billboards, videos and other online tools.
"Dave VanderVeen (ministry founder) has been a wonderful friend and inspiration through the years." (See Manna Media's video mission statement online)
His appreciation for the ministry of Turning Point Missions was made personal early last year when Bulthuis and several others went to Haiti to work on clean water projects in the impoverished island nation. Corrupt government, lack of business and infrastructure, and lingering effects of hurricanes and other natural disasters have secured Haiti's status as the poorest country in the western hemisphere.
"There is water there, but people need wells and water filtration to get it," Bulthuis said of a nation where the child mortality rate is high due to water-borne illnesses. "If a Haitian church can be the place for that, people can come there with buckets for clean water." (For more info visit www.turningpointmissions.org).
Turning Point co-founder and chief operating officer Mark Wybenga, is a member of the Oak Hill Church.
GROWING UP MUSICALLY
Bulthuis's first full concert came when he was 21 years old and a senior at Calvin. For numerous years after, he returned to Grand Rapids from his California home to perform his angst-ridden, thoughtful ballads and fun, pop-rock anthems to multiple sold out shows at the school's Fine Arts Auditorium.
In those early days he would say that his songwriting was about "life, Calvin, girls and God."
He moved to West Michigan in 1987 – the same year he married his wife Jana (also a Calvin alumnus). The music artist held a "corporate job" for 17 years, but also did freelance music and video work while continuing to produce his own concerts and recordings.
In 1997 Bulthuis spread his creative wings and appeared in the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre production of "Woody Guthrie's American Song."
His long-held Christian faith often expressed in his music opened doors to church work. He's been music director at Oakhill for 16 years, and just this year has begun serving as a church elder.
MUSIC AND MISSION
The artist has shown appreciation for music's broad spectrum and has written hundreds of songs. And there is the creative itch to get up in front of people and perform.
"To me, even if it's just one concert a year and people come and have a good time..." he mused. Some guys like to hunt or fish. This is my version of that."
Bulthuis has long known the difference in his roles as a performing artist and the responsibilities of music in the church. "A concert performer wants the audience to like him," he said. "A worship leader directs the people upward to God, while trying to step aside as much as possible."
(Editor's note: Manna Media also produces the West Michigan Christian News www.westmichiganchristian.com)
Glenn Bulthuis and the Tonedeafs, accompanied by the Chris Hansen's Horns: A Benefit Concert
7pm Fri. Oct. 22
at Rush Creek Bible Church, 2334 76th St SW Byron Center.
Tickets are $20, available from Glenn directly at 616-890-8725 or with self-addressed, stamped envelope to Bulthuis Tickets, 2258 Tecumseh Dr. SE. Grand Rapids, MI 49506. Checks can be made out to one of the two benefit organizations, Turning Point Missions or Manna Media. Mail purchases will be sent out same day (or may be held at the door). Any remaining tickets will be available at the door. Offering will be received at event. For more info:
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