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Concert to benefit Eagle Ranch
The local band Mid Life Crisis will perform in Horseshoe Park at Marina Bay to raise money for Eagle Ranch Saturday night. Concertgoers are invited to bring along a picnic and blankets.

Eagle Ranch benefit

When: Gates open at 6 p.m.; concert, 8 p.m. Saturday

Where: Horseshoe Park, Marina Bay, 6338 Marina Club Drive, Gainesville.

How much: $20 adults; free for children age 12 and younger

More info: 678-450-5575

Mid Life Crisis will perform to help children in crisis at a benefit concert for Eagle Ranch, this Saturday at Marina Bay on Lake Lanier.

"We’re really looking forward to this year because it’s our 25th anniversary, and it’s a great opportunity to get the word out in our community," said Stefanie Long, director of communications for Eagle Ranch.

Eagle Ranch, located in Flowery Branch, is a nonprofit, Christian children’s home and private school.

The facility, which was established in 1985, helps families by improving home life and providing counseling and education.

Long said the owners of Marina Bay organized the concert, which is now in its third year, to benefit the ranch.

"This is something that Marina Bay was kind enough to host for us," Long said.

"We receive the proceeds, which (are) greatly appreciated, but it really was through the generosity of Marina Bay, which is just another testament to this community kind of coming together and helping Eagle Ranch," she said.

The concert will be at Horseshoe Park, which is located inside the community. Long said families can bring picnics along.

"The gates open around 6 and people will come, they’ll bring their dinners, and just spread out their blankets and have a big family picnic," said Long.

"Then around 8 the music starts, and it’s just a really fun night where everybody enjoys themselves and has fun, but at the same time they’re supporting a great cause."

Mid Life Crisis, headed by lead vocalist Allen Nivens, also includes Ron Bracewell, Michelle Alexander, Henry Troutman, Karl Reising, Ed Waller, Holt Harrison, Mike Gottsman and Bill Hallowes.

"Over the last nine years, we’ve done a lot of benefit concerts for Eagle Ranch and for Challenged Child, but this is our third year doing it for Eagle Ranch, which is a great opportunity," said Troutman, the group’s drummer.

Troutman’s daughter, Perry Troutman, will sing with the group for the concert.

"We’re going to do a mixture of Southern rock and some blues," Troutman said, "and just a lot of fun music that everybody will know, and possibly some originals by our lead singer, Allen Nivens."

He said the group formed nine years ago "to have fun and just blow off a little steam and make some music," but grew to add several more members.

"We’re all working professionals that have God-given talents, and we enjoy making music for our community," he said.

In addition to the concert, Long said Eagle Ranch organizers will take the opportunity to share the ranch’s mission with those in attendance.

"W always have a little presentation, and this year we’re going to have one of the graduates from Eagle Ranch get up and tell their story," said Long, adding that Shane Sullards, a graduate of Eagle Ranch in the 1990s, will be the speaker for this year’s event.

"(Shane has) got a great story, and he really attributes his success today and kind of how his character and his family have come together, in a way, based on his time at the ranch," she said.

Long said the concert had 400 people in attendance last year, and Marina Bay expects a larger audience this year.

She said getting the message out about Eagle Ranch’s mission is a benefit of the yearly event.

"I think what’s more important than the money for us is the fact that we get to communicate with people about our mission," she said.

"We’re a Christ-centered home for children in crisis, but what makes us a little different than other children homes is that we work with the entire family to try and get the child home as quickly as possible."

Long said the ranch provides assistance to children with a variety of issues.

"They may be having troubles with their behavior, with school," she said.

"There may be some changes in the family, maybe through divorce or just custody issues, or sometimes it is something to do with the justice system that brings them to the ranch."

The ranch has six boys’ homes and four girls’ homes, and can house 66 children at one time.

Long said the ranch is not a permanent children’s home, but rather a temporary home for kids in crisis.

Since its opening, the ranch has provided a home for more than 600 children and teens. Although it is a Christian organization, Long said kids don’t have to have a Christian background to attend.

"We do take children of all faiths. Faith is not something that is a prerequisite for coming to the ranch," she said.