Formerly a member of Lee University’s widely respected choirs — Lee Singers, as well as the traveling ensemble, Second Edition — Stacey became an overnight sensation in Season 6 of “American Idol” as 30 million television viewers each week watched him advance to the final five.
A husband, father, military man, music minister and recording artist, Stacey, 34, is still early in a professional career that has seen him release multiple albums: “Phil Stacey” in April 2008, “Into the Light” in August 2009, and “Faith” in March 2011.
“We are ecstatic over getting Phil Stacey for the Breast Cancer Survivors Luncheon,” said Zandra Welch, one of many Volley for a Cure 2012 Committee members who have plotted this year’s VFAC campaign to the final detail. “We have been fortunate to have some excellent speakers at the luncheon. Phil is the latest, and we are so honored to have him join us.”
Set for Thursday, Nov. 1, the luncheon will get under way at 11:30 a.m. in the DeVos Recreation Center on the Lee University campus. The 90-minute gathering, which helps to put the wraps on the final two days of Volley for a Cure, will include presentations, entertainment, a meal and Stacey’s keynote.
Last year’s Survivors Luncheon speaker was Bradley County native Karen Mills, a well-traveled comedian who preached to her listeners, “Laughter is still the best medicine.” Two years ago, the crowd of breast cancer survivors and VFAC volunteers was inspired by the words of Barbara Dooley, a respected author and public speaker. She is the wife of SEC coaching legend Vince Dooley and the mother of University of Tennessee head football coach Derek Dooley.
“The Survivors Luncheon is always a special treat for Volley for a Cure because it’s an opportunity to celebrate life, to enjoy the camaraderie of fellow breast cancer survivors and to have some fun while raising money and promoting public awareness,” Welch cited.
VFAC hosts a variety of activities throughout October which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Now in its sixth year, Volley for a Cure was founded by Lee University Lady Flames head volleyball coach Andrea Hudson who originated the campaign as a way to help her young athletes interact with the Cleveland and Bradley County community. Each year, the Lady Flames volleyball team works closely with the VFAC Committee to organize the month of events and to speak on behalf of breast cancer awareness.
VFAC not only promotes awareness, but it also raises funds for the MaryEllen Locher Scholarship Foundation. Currently, a few Lee University students are getting their postsecondary education through the foundation’s scholarship support.
Breast cancer survivors may attend the luncheon at no cost. For all others, the price is $20 per ticket. Sponsorship tables are available. Luncheon attendance is by reservation only. Those wishing to attend should call 614-8600.
According to his official website, Stacey is a native of Harlan, Ky., where he grew up watching his father as he pastored churches in Kentucky, Ohio and Kansas. The website points out, “In addition to a love for God, Stacey’s dad also instilled a passion for music. Phil’s father played trumpet and keyboards professionally before leaving secular music behind for a life in ministry. Music was always an integral part of the Stacey home.”
Of his selection to perform with Lee Singers and Second Edition while at Lee University, Stacey described both as highly acclaimed groups.
“The Lee Singers were famous to me,” Stacey said on his website.
He remembers how he felt when he first found out he had made the cut.
“I was shocked,” he stressed. “I thought, ‘I’d better register for classes!’ I took out loans and went to college basically to be in the choir.”
He also earned a spot in Second Edition, Lee’s even more exclusive touring group. In addition to performing, Stacey took a job at a local recording studio where he learned the technical side of the business. During his college years, he became exposed to a variety of music well beyond the country and gospel that he had learned in his childhood at home.
After college at Lee, he and his wife, Kendra, moved to Denver where he had accepted a job as a music minister.
Stacey’s love of country and pride in American values moved him to enlist in the U.S. Navy after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. His voice led him to the military service’s band where he performed as lead vocalist for Navy Band Southeast.
“It was an incredible experience and I carry that with me everywhere I go,” the performer cited. “I’ve met some amazing people and walked through unforgettable experiences singing at memorial services for some of our fallen heroes. I’m incredibly honored to have served in the Navy.”
Of his experience with “American Idol,” Stacey said it strengthened his life even further.
“It was one of the highlights in my life,” he noted on his website. “I was incredibly shocked that out of 103,000 contestants I got that far. But more than anything, it taught me how desperate I still am — how desperately in need of God’s mercy and grace I still am.”
He added, “After so many years of being actively involved in ministry, the ‘American Idol’ experience taught me that I don’t have it together, that I am utterly dependent every single day on the grace and mercy of Christ.”
n The Flamingo Flock will continue through Nov. 1. This lighthearted fundraiser, which supports Volley for a Cure, places groups of pink flamingo figurines in the yards of “victims.” This planting of birds is ordered by “customers” who pay a fee to have the front lawn of a friend or loved one “flocked.” Flocking prices are $25 donations for 10 flamingoes, $35 for 20 flamingoes, $50 for 35 flamingoes, and $75 for 60 flamingoes. The birds are secretly placed in yards overnight and then removed the following evening. To order a flocking, call 423-596-9159 or 423-472-1996 and speak with VFAC Flocking Committee members Zandra, Angie, Sheri or Melissa. No flocking on Halloween. Once deployed birds are collected on Nov. 2, the flocking season will end ... until 2013.
n Lawyers (Outlaws) vs. Doctors (Resuscitators) benefit softball game will be played Tuesday, Oct. 30, at 6:30 p.m. on the Lee University Lady Flames softball field.
n VFAC Game Day is Friday, Nov. 2, in the Paul Dana Walker Arena. Events to include VFAC Silent Auction, 4 p.m.; VFAC High School Volleyball Showcase featuring area high school volleyball stars, 5 p.m.; Pink Party, 6 p.m.; Pack the Stands with Pink, 6:45 p.m.; and the Main Event featuring the Lee University Lady Flames vs. the Coastal Georgia Mariners.
n VFAC’s 2012 Theme is “Pink is the New Black.” T-shirts are available for $5 (S-XL) and $7 (XXL and XXXL). They can be purchased at a variety of sponsor locations, and on the Nov. 2 “Game Day” events.
n VFAC 2012 Sponsors are Countryside Cafe, Outland Travel Inc., United Community Bank, Brenda Lawson & Associates, East-West Media, Cleveland Daily Banner, MaryEllen Locher Foundation, Zeta Chi Lambda, Lee Volleyball, Express Athletics, The Plastic Surgery Clinic of Cleveland, SouthEast Bank & Trust, Dick’s Graphics and Printing, Gobble’s Automotive and WCLE Mix 104.1.