Community Builder: Local band finds way to give back through mus - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Community Builder: Local band finds way to give back through music

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

They say music can be the key to bringing people together. It's certainly what's at the core of the Heart ‘N Soul Band.

"That was the hook that I think brought this talented group of artists together,” singer Carl Ellsworth said.

But their mission goes beyond the music.

"We formed this on the concept of service above self and we use our time and talents to help others,” group founder and drummer Doug Neal said.

They're giving back as they groove out. It all goes back about 8 years to an agreement made before the band's first rehearsal.

"We said this is going to be something that's different. We're going to give back everything that we earn,” Neal said.

Eleven people make up Heart ‘N Soul, and none of them are paid a dime. As a non-profit organization, any money earned from performances goes directly to Midlands charities and organizations.

So far, that's added up to the tune of $160,000 in direct donations. When you factor in performances at galas and fundraisers, the band has helped area non-profits raise more than $2 million.

"Because they had other jobs, they didn't want to do this for money. They wanted to do this and have a higher purpose and impact in the community,” Rebecca Tompkins said.

For that very reason, Heart ‘N Soul becomes our latest "Community Builder." We brought a halt to their recent rehearsal to surprise them with a hard hat in partnership with Mungo Homes.

“As a community builder, you'll get $1,000 to go back to charity from the Michael J. Mungo Foundation,” Mary Mungo with Mungo Homes said.

"It was quite a surprise. I did not realize that we'd been nominated,” said Ellsworth.

Band members say the more they donate, the more passionate they become on stage.

"I tell you,” Neal said, “every time we get to perform is so much fun and when we get recognized for what we do, it's just a thrill that gets us going even more."

"We've given a lot and it feels really good to be able to do that,” said singer Margery Ballowe.

Copyright 2015 WIS. All rights reserved.
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