Cup ‘O Joy 21st Anniversary, 1989-2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
A 21st birthday conveys a coming of age, a test of time, maturity, and respect earned.
While many ministries have sustained the test of time, few acting as a Christian concert venue can claim the same. Imagine a concert venue offering 104 concerts a year, 103 of which ask only a free will offering. All concerts are smoke free, alcohol free, family friendly, hosting everything from blues to gospel, mellow acoustic to hard rock. Now imagine this concert venue in its 21st consecutive year of operation in a moderately sized Midwest city. This hidden jewel does exist, waiting for you to come to its next offering. Located on one of the oldest streets in of the oldest cities in America’s Midwest, the Cup ‘O Joy concert venue can be found at 232 South Broadway Street in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Of humble beginnings, The Cup, as it is lovingly called today, began in September, 1989 housed in a rundown brick building of the late 1800’s which had served as a shoe store and a later a print shop. With the help of many volunteers and a good share of patience the Cup began to gain momentum. In 1999 The Cup moved to a new location, a former Salvation Army and Knights of Columbus building built in 1950, converted to a bar, then abandoned. Today the venue has state of the art sound, video, and creature comforts.
Over time, the Cup transitioned from a coffeehouse atmosphere to a concert venue.
The first 5 to 7 years as an outreach saw the inclusion of music in the form of local talent. Then ‘Eli’ performed as the first national act, building a relationship with the Cup. John Cox, The Crossing and others began performing at the Cup. The list continued to grow with Super Chick, Sara Groves, Disciple, Building 429, Shawn McDonald, December Radio and others. Today, major acts come to perform on the Cup stage, with every style of music represented. Concerts are held every Friday and Saturday night, and admission is by free will offering only with one inexpensive benefit concert annually to help keep the lights on. No funds are received from the city, a church, or major sponsorships.
Here, artists find they can truly connect with people. The venue’s atmosphere lends itself to a close, one-on-one artist / audience relationship building a true channel of communication where both artist and audience share a mutual level of respect. Friendships thrive when the audience is physically next to the performer, seeing them live and sharing their art. This is what ministry is all about, building relationships by sharing Christian faith.
The venue, the artists, and the audience owe a vote of thanks to the volunteers. The unpaid staff, from the manager with 21 year tenure to those providing meals for the artists, maintenance, and administration, every one has a function and is a blessing. Roughly 100 volunteers representing 35 different faiths and all walks of life serve in various capacities. Sustainability is made possible by the volunteers - people bringing their gifts to the table with a love to serve. Each brings his or her talents willingly without reservation creating a sense of community too often lost in today’s culture.
The Cup has a ministry built with a greater focus than a small outreach. One that builds lasting relationships, crossing the borders of denominations forming Christ’s church. The
focus is faith-based entertainment for all comers providing an opportunity to grow closer to God and community. Reaching out to all with a commonly understood mode of communication – music. In the spirit of love and faith, the Cup reaches this goal. The audience grows in their relationship to Christ, sharing this relationship with family and friends, and planting seeds with others.
The Cup builds relationships and keeps relationships growing on an intimate basis. These relationships and friendships continue to evolve between individuals, artists, and volunteers. Their relationship with Christ is the focus of this ministry and will continue to be its focus for its 25th anniversary and on into the distant future. Join us at The Cup!
Posted by S. S. Mertens http://ssmertens.blogspot.com