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Benefit concert for Haitian earthquake recovery set in Grand Forks

A music entrepreneur who has worked with singer Ashlee Hewitt of Lancaster, Minn., is organizing a benefit concert in Grand Forks to help restore the Haitian orphanage where Ashlee's sister, Lacey, has worked since August.

A music entrepreneur who has worked with singer Ashlee Hewitt of Lancaster, Minn., is organizing a benefit concert in Grand Forks to help restore the Haitian orphanage where Ashlee's sister, Lacey, has worked since August.

The Reach Out to Haiti shelter was heavily damaged in Tuesday's earthquake. Lacey Hewitt was not hurt, she told her parents in a Tuesday evening phone call, but the orphanage is without resources to care for the children.

Hewitt and about 100 children slept in a street Tuesday night, according to her parents, Jim and Kelli Hewitt of Lancaster.

Steve Matzke, a volunteer stage manager at the Empire Theater in Grand Forks, said today that he is arranging for four bands to play at a benefit concert starting at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 25. He has opened an account at Frandsen Bank and Trust (the former Community Bank) in East Grand Forks.

Donations may be sent to the Lacey Hewitt Orphanage Benefit at the bank, 1413 Central Ave., East Grand Forks MN 56721, or at the Empire Arts Center, 415 DeMers Ave., Grand Forks ND 58201. Donations also may be made at the benefit concert.

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Matzke said he also plans a silent auction.

"We already have pairs of tickets for Sioux hockey and basketball," he said.

He has worked with Ashlee Hewitt, a 2008 Nashville Star contestant, since meeting the Hewitt family at WE Fest in 2004.

"These kids in the orphanage need help," he said. "The only thing wrong with these kids is they were born in the wrong place, and the people at the orphanage -- people like Lacey -- that's all they had.

"This is the right thing to do. And 100 percent of the revenues brought in on this deal will go directly to the orphans. Lacey will oversee what happens with it. She's there and knows where it's needed. And knowing Lacey, she'll make sure it gets where it needs to go."

Matzke said he doesn't have a monetary goal in mind. "We'll charge a nominal $10 to get in, and we'll see whatever we can raise above and beyond."

He said he presented the benefit plan to Kelli Hewitt.

"Kelli thinks it's swell," he said. "She's glad we're doing it."

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Donations to help rebuild the orphanage also may be sent to Reach Out to Haiti, 168 Gutbrodt Rd., Melrose NY 12121. The address was incorrect in a story on Page A1 Thursday.

Reach Haga at (701) 780-1102; (800) 477-6572, ext. 102; or send e-mail to chaga@gfherald.com .

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