What: Bethel Country Connection Concert.
When: 6 p.m. Thursday
Where: The Chattanoogan, 1201 S. Broad St.
A new era in fundraising at Bethel Bible Village dawns Thursday when the first songwriters showcase is launched by Bethel's new celebrity host.
Kelley Lovelace, former Hixson resident who is one of Nashville's most renowned songwriters, is stepping into Pat Boone's white buck shoes as the new face of the Bethel Classic Weekend. Boone retired as Bethel's celebrity host last year after a 35-year affiliation with the nonprofit.
Bethel Bible Village in Hixson provides a temporary Christian home for children of families in crisis. Some may stay a few weeks, others for months depending on the family's situation.
"The last two or three years, (Bethel officials) began broaching the subject of stepping in for Pat," said Lovelace in a phone interview. "From my perspective, that was a big drop.
"Pat's such a great guy, a music icon and has such a great heart. I don't look at it as filling his shoes. I'm just trying to do the best I can."
Lovelace joked he'd never even held a club when he was first invited to play in the Bethel Celebrity golf tournament.
"Kelley began playing in our golf tournament 10 years ago and has been associated with Bethel ever since," said Bethel Executive Director Chuck Baker.
"Growing up in Hixson, he was familiar with our ministry, attending high school with several of our students. Kelley and his wife, Karen, have become very special friends of Bethel and our children over these 10 years," said Baker.
Lovelace is excited about the group of friends who will join him for the first songwriters showcase Thursday night at The Chattanoogan. It's a chance for guests to hear the stories behind some of their favorite country songs by the guys who wrote them.
The headlining singer is Hunter Hayes, one of country music's hottest young stars.
Hayes is the 20-year-old Louisiana phenom who not only co-produced his self-titled CD but played all the instruments (more than 30) on it as well. Last summer's first single, "Storm Warning," hit No. 14 on Billboard's Top 40, and his current ballad, "Wanted," is climbing charts.
Songwriters Lovelace, Neil Thrasher and Rivers Rutherford each have multiple Top 10 hits to their credit. Thrasher is the writer behind Jason Aldean's current hit, "Fly Over States."
Nancy Hoover, Bethel director of communications, said golfers who want to play in the May 18-19 tournament at Bear Trace should call 842-5757, ext. 233, to register.
The artists' songs and who recorded them:
• "There Goes My Life," Kenny Chesney
• "Fast Cars and Freedom," Rascal Flatts
• "Strange," Reba McEntire
• "Ladies Love Country Boys," Trace Adkins
• "Living in Fast Forward," Kenny Chesney
• "When I Get Where I'm Going," Brad Paisley/Dolly Parton
• "He Didn't Have To Be," Brad Paisley
• "Camouflage," Brad Paisley
• "The Impossible," Joe Nichols
• "Don't Forget To Remem-ber Me," Carrie Underwood