By Christy Womack
Last year Richard Fluharty and Shawn Hackinson had an idea to create a fun, casual singer-songwriter event to benefit the American Heart Association, and the Artist at the Alley event was born. It was a huge success, but not one to rest on their laurels, the two friends and Murfreesboro transplants immediately started planning to make this year’s event even bigger and better.
The 2nd Annual Artist at the Alley promises to be just that. Headlined by acclaimed country artist Richie McDonald of Lonestar, with hits such as “I’m Already There,” “Amazed,” and “Every Little Thing She Does,” the event promises to bea sold-out success on Tuesday, September 27. Also attending will be local artist James Dupre, a finalist on this past season of the Voice with a new album that has just been released. Regions Bank is the presenting sponsor.
Both Richard and Shawn moved to Murfreesboro as adults and have been struck by the philanthropic spirit of our community. Richard, Assistant Vice President at Regions Bank, initially got involved with the American Heart Association by heading the Regions team for three years in the Heart Walk. Richard’s stepfather had died of congestive heart failure and his nephew is currently on the transplant list, so he wanted to do even more to raise both funds and awareness.
“Heart attacks and strokes kill more people than all cancers combined,” explained Richard. “I wanted to raise awareness and to give something back to our community but after three years of asking for donations, I wanted to make sure that the donor was getting something back too.”
He had become friends with Shawn and Christy Hackinson, the owners of The Alley on Main, and when Richard suggested a singer/songwriter event, Shawn was in. “Christy and I were very involved in charitable functions in San Antonio, and when we came here we were so busy opening the new restaurant. We had been doing charitable wine tastings each month, and some other fundraisers, but we were ready to do more.”
“The way we see it, 1500 guests per week come and invest in us, and it’s our obligation to give back to them, to our community,” explains Shawn. Christy’s father also died of heart disease just before she and Shawn married, so the connection to the American Heart Association was perfect.
“Our first Artist at the Alley was very intimate,” said Lauren Harris, Regional Director of the American Heart Association. “It allowed people to come out, be casual, have a nice dinner and listen to music at the same time they were supporting the Amerian Heart Association. Now that we have a year under our belts with so much support from last year, we’re excited to bring in new people and new sponsors to be a part of this. I’m proud of what Richard and Shawn have created and brought to this community.”
“Last year was so much fun,” said Richard. “Keith and Derick played great songs, but they also told the stories behind the songs and that brought out such an emotional connection between people and the songs. Even afterwards, they hung out with people and talked and signed autographs.”
Richard has a family connection and worked with an agent that put him in touch with Richie McDonald, an award-winning singer and songwriter, who jumped at the chance to help despite a much lower budget that he typically commands. “He knew we were on a small budget, but he was anxious to help,” says Richard.
Only 80 tickets are available for the event, and tickets can be purchased at The Alley On Main, or by contacting Richard Fluharty at 615-904-2832 or email at Richard.firstname.lastname@example.org. Kelly Buchholz and Laser Therapy and Chiropractic will sponsor a cocktail hour from 5-6 and Alley on Main provides a filet mignon dinner along with complimentary wine and beer beginning at 6. Table sponsorships are still available and all sponsorships come with tickets to the event. Tickets are $100.
Artist at the Alley
benefiting the American Heart Association
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
The Alley On Main
award-winning singer and songwriter
Richie McDonald of Lonestar
Presented by Regions and The Alley On Main