Brandon Concert Proceeds to Benefit Children's Miracle Network
By Jonnie Taté Finn
November 16. 2006 6:00AM
Damian Marchand of Brandon has a place in his heart for the Children's Miracle Network.
"Our daughter had problems when she was younger," said Marchand, 35. "She caught pneumonia and was in the ICU. On a small scale we understand what it is the Children's Miracle Network does."
That's why a portion of the proceeds for Marchand's upcoming holiday concert in Brandon will be donated to the organization.
The concert, "A Captivating Christmas," will be held at the Brandon Valley Performing Arts Center Nov. 25. This is the second year for concert, which Marchand hopes will become a holiday staple for the area. Last year, more than $2,000 was raised for the Sioux Empire Red Cross.
"We plan on giving (the Children's Miracle Network) 30 percent of the proceeds. Last year we gave 100 percent," Marchand said. "This year we're trying to make a business of it."
Plus, the Children's Miracle Network requested Marchand donate only a portion of the profits to encourage more people to host events without feeling obligated to hand over every last cent. Marchand said the event will also feature donation boxes so audience members can contribute more to the organization.
The Nov. 25 performance features Marchand's classical-pop vocal talents, which he and others compare to artists like Josh Groban and Andrea Bocelli.
"I was absolutely blown away by Damian's singing skill, and the audience response to it. He really sings from the heart," said Doug Lund, an anchorman for KELO-TV who emceed Marchand's concert last year and will continue the role this year. "I'm hearing from a lot of people who are anxious to see this year's show and I'm excited - and a little nervous too. I know Damian has been doing some recording and I have to believe we'll be seeing him on a national level before long."
Marchand said the show's lineup includes traditional holiday carols, ballet dancers and a children's choir, among other changes from last year's performance.
His singing will be accompanied by pianists Ryan Egan, Will Prines and Kris Lauseng, who will also sing; classical guitarist Robert Schneidewind; harpist Erin Hoiland; international opera singer Gabriel Rivero; and South Dakota Symphony musicians Maxim Kozlov, Christine Egan and Gid and Gabe Carlisle. Shawn Cable, KELO-TV weatherman, will lend a tenor voice to the program, as well.
The idea for "A Captivating Christmas" came about last year after Marchand planned a private holiday performance for friends and family. Once news spread about Marchand's concert, a bigger venue was needed.
"We had 500 people show up last year. At the end we had such an overwhelming response to do the show again," Marchand said. "It was amazing. Surreal. It didn't take us long to say, 'Let's try this again.'"
Like last year, Marchand is self-producing and promoting the show with the help of his wife, Donna.
"I'm excited and nervous," Marchand said. "It's been a ton of work. I put pretty much any free time I have into this, whether it's making phone calls looking for sponsorship or rehearsing. It's amazing all the little things that go into something like this."
He even released a CD of his Christmas songs, which is available on his Web site for $15 and will also be for sale at the concert. He's set to record another album beginning in January, which will feature love songs, inspirational cover pieces and original work.
When the Watertown native isn't planning concerts, reheasing songs in his car, recording albums or spending time with his wife and two young daughters, Marchand is a computer programmer for a company in Sioux Falls.
"The singing is more of side business, actually," he said. He performs at weddings, funerals, community events, theaters, private business luncheons, dining establishments and special occasions.
"Hopefully with another CD coming and with more concerts I can put more energy into singing," Marchand said. "It takes time. It's a dream I decided to pursue."
Reach Jonnie Taté Finn at 331-2320.