THE FOUNDING STORY
Born and raised in Craig CO, I've always called Northern Colorado home. I moved to Fort Collins in '08 to attend CSU but was quickly drawn into the bustling Front Range music scene. I started touring with local bands selling t-shirts, which led to discovering a passion and career as an audio engineer. A decade later, and with highlights such as The
Kennedy Center with The National Symphony Orchestra and many Red Rocks shows,
Uplift: FoCo was created as a way to leverage my music experience to positively give back
to the community in a meaningful and lasting way.
The original seed was planted in 2010 when I
put together a small benefit concert in similar format
---- a group of friends made up the band and we
raised funds for a youth-related cause. It was a mild
success for two years, but life pulled in other directions and the concept lost steam. Jump to February of 2019; a fellow volunteer at The Matthews House asked if I knew anything about charity concerts and it reignited my spark! Driven by the excitement of new possibilities,
I consumed myself that year with countless calls and emails to bring all the connections
together for Uplift: FoCo's inaugural voyage.
Having been a volunteer with The Matthews House, they were an obvious choice as partner
and beneficiary. And in 2020, I took a break from the road to work with them in experiential
education. In 2021, I launched a music program, plus an outdoor program, and love sharing
my passions and creating opportunities with the youth. The music program provides at-risk youth with access to music lessons, classes, instruments, rehearsal space, and recording opportunities, plus has been approved for high school credit.
From my experience in the music industry and as a local program manager, I have seen first
hand the gap between the two. While continuing to develop programs at The Matthews
House, I work closely with Bohemian Foundation to support other local organizations with
expanding access to music for youth, including Blast n Scrap, Beats By Girlz, School of Rock,
PSD, and FoCoMA. These collaborations are the origins of the Uplift Scholarship and the
foundation of the Uplift network. I continue to work in the music industry and at The Matthews
House, and I am passionate about using my connections to benefit young musicians in
Northern Colorado. I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to our vibrant community
that I'm fortunate to call home! -- Andy Whilden
THE TEAM BEHIND UPLIFT: FOCO
We couldn't do it with them!
Savannah Russell - donations coordinator/supportive partner - It's admittedly bias, but Savannah is one of the most kind and caring individuals I know. As an inevitable consultant on all things, she has provided invaluable support professionally and personally. She is one of the most well connected acupuncturist in town and has leveraged countless connections on behalf of the event. Schedule an appointment with her at: ftcollinsfamilyacupuncture.com
Mike Tallman - graphic design - Mike is as close to family as friends come; he gave me my first opportunity in the music scene and a couch to crash on way back when. He is one of my favorite guitarist and founding member of Euforquestra, creative director for Color Red, plus one of the industry's leading and most sought after graphic designers. We are lucky to have him creating our art! Check out his work at: addnoisestudios.com
Dan Butcher - FOH engineer - Long time friend and colleague, Dan will ensure our audience experiences the highest quality of sound.
Sean Flynn - monitor engineer - Was once "my legs" while working a festival on crutches, Sean will provide musicians with exceptional sound.
Arnie Weil & Bethel Steele - stage managers - Close industry friends, these guys are the grease that will keep this train running smooth.
Ruby Hinrichs - VIP/door manager - Always sharing an infectious smile, Ruby will facilitate a pleasant arrival for each and every guest.
Judi Holland - artist hospitality - My dear own mom will bring her motherly care for our artists, making sure they are happy and ready to perform.
Jenna Franck - merchandise - The fateful co-volunteer who sparked it all, Jenna's positive spirit will come included with our finest threads.
Nick Stock - videographer - Yet another friend from my first year in the industry, Nick's sharp eye will capture the essence of the evening.
Tobin Voggesser & Jon Eisenberg are both friends from almost day 1 in music. Tobin has gifted many great photos to my websites and Jon has helped many of the bands I've toured with. They both provided crucial mental power towards the event's initial brainstorming.
Through this process so many amazing partnerships have formed and I'm incredibly thankful to have a passionate group of talented people ---- from our staff to musicians, sponsors, donors, and volunteers, I can't thank them enough! It is truly the collective effort of all these individuals making Uplift: FoCo happen, and for which I am eternally grateful. I am excited to be working on year three, and I can't wait to share this special event and new scholarship with our beautiful home town. I hope to see you there!
Uplift: FoCo - creator
Fiscal management of Uplift: FoCo is provided by The Matthews House,
a 501(c)(3) organization that empowers young adults and families
to break cycles of poverty and abuse.
A committee of trusted community members oversees the
Uplift Scholarship application and selection process.