Assistant Managing Editor
WILBRAHAM Last month several areas were damaged as a result of the tornadoes that touched down in the south. Left ravaged were communities in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee.
Wilbraham-based Christian musician William Ferrarini was invited to perform at the Supercell of Giving Benefit, a fundraising concert put on by 21 renowned musicians in Nashville, Tenn. Named for the supercell storm that spawned the series of tornadoes in the region, over $1,200 was raised at the benefit and donated to the Red Cross to assist in relief efforts.
According to the The National Weather Service, the strongest tornado associated with the supercell storm had winds of 130-135 mph and its path was approximately 15 miles long and 500 yards wide at its widest point. In all about 55 people were killed.
Ferrarini, who is known locally for publishing a coupon directory and his uplifting performances at local houses of worship, said he is delighted to have participated in such a noble cause. He spoke with Reminder Publications before and after the show.
"To see all those people get together ... It was a real honor to be able to do that," he said.
The Feb. 28 show kicked-off with Ferrarini leading a backstage prayer with performers and officially opened with gold and platinum recording artist Aaron Tippin. Ferrarini performed at the end of the night and followed up that evening's performance with two other performances in the city.
He said he was asked to jump on board for the project by acquaintance Glenn Sweitzer, owner of Fresh Design + Film, one of three organization involved in putting on the benefit, including NashvilleHype! and Nixa Country.
"He's one of the organizers and he connected me with one of the top producers in the business, Cliff Downs. So I recently went down there and recorded a song that me and my son wrote, called 'Send Me a Miracle,'" Ferrarini said.
After he played at a Sept. 11, 2006 healing service, Ferrarini said he wanted to write a song about healing. He said he was inspired by his father-in-law and a friend. Both have battled with cancer.
"My son, about a month and a half earlier, had written the song and had been inspired by my father-in-law who had cancer at the time. And that week he came and told me he wanted to give me this chorus. That same week," Ferrarini repeated. "We were on the same page on this song and I started writing the rest of the song around it."
Ferrarini has been writing songs since he was 16 and touts "Send Me a Miracle" as one of the most meaningful of all the songs he's ever been a part of writing. Cathryn Miller Gipson of www.nashvillehype.com, an online entertainmet news blog, seemed to agree. Of Ferrarini she wrote on the site, "While listening to it myself, I find it to be at a place of tranquility and quietness. His voice is comforting and soothing and a sound all his own."
Paul King, the owner and editor of NashvilleHype.com, said Ferrarini's "a good man for coming all the way down here to help us with the benefit ... William is a rare find. He's an extremely talented performer and songwriter, yet one of the most down to earth, humble and caring individuals you will ever meet."
Ferrarini said the most important thing about the event was helping the families that were affected by tornadoes. King said that is an accomplishment that a dollar value can't be placed on.
"We haven't really publicized the total, not that we aren't proud of our efforts, we certainly are, but only because 'success' in many people's minds is a direct coorelation to the amount raised and we were successful on many levels other than a dollar amount. "Add in people like William, Rachel Farley, Kelsey Skaggs, Kelly Ray Davis and others and the travel, hotel and food expenses they incured to participate and we raised much, much more. Cathryn and I dropped off the funds recently and the Red Cross staff was so happy to have people, like William, who are willing to help them in their efforts. Had we only been able to raise $1, I feel they would've been just as greatful as though we had raised $1 million. Every dollar helps."
"I think that's what most musicians want to do. The key motivation is to help people," Ferrarini said a few days before his departure to Nashville. "I always love when top artists get together and do something for other people. It's a beautiful thing. It's going to be a powerful moment."
Ferrarini previously resided in Springfield and has been a Wilbraham resident for the last 15 years.
williamferrarini to learn more about his music.