Willie Nelson at Austin City Limits – and 1000 Voices for Hope!


Here’s a little Willie Wednesday item that was worth waiting the 3 1/2 weeks I’m behind. Sunday night, 11/15.  7 p.m. Central, PBS is broadcasting the new Austin City Limits episode with Willie Nelson and Asleep at the Wheel. I haven’t seen the edit, but I was there for the taping and it was fine, and I’m sure director Gary Menotti and all of the super-fine ACL production staff have hit a grand slam home run.

If you can’t wait till Sunday – and even if you can – through November 17, PBS.org is giving us online streaming of the very first ACL episode – the Austin City LImits pilot with Willie Nelson and family – recorded October 17, 1974. Prepare to be delighted and happy to your very core. The only off-note in the whole show is the realization that all the great Austin nightclubs – Soap Creek, Split Rail, Dillo, Castle Creek, One Knite – that are included in the opening montage are long-since gone. Luckily, Willie and his wonderful music are still with us, and will always be with us.

While you’re watching Willie, you can sing a little harmony in a new choir called 1000 Voices for Hope. Having rebuilt Mahiga Primary School in Kenya with purified drinking water, electricity, a computer lab and new classrooms, The Nobelity Project is setting our sites a little higher. With no high school in the area – and very little chance for a decent future for these great kids – we are building Mahiga Hope High School.

RainwaterNewLoResOur design for the multipurpose RainWater Court won the international GameChangers competition from Architecture for Humanity, which included the money to build it (thanks to Nike) and an incredible design fellow, Greg Elsner, who is living in Mahiga, Kenya to see this school through to completion.

The high school will also have a block of 8 modern classrooms, a computer lab, a book library with 1000s of volumes in English and Swahili, and a science building with physics, chemistry, biology lab and gardens.

When we say HOPE high school, that’s exactly what we intend to bring to hundreds of kids in this rural community where education is the best possible shot at a better life.

So what does this have to do with Willie? With the RainWater Court money – and another $60k we’ve raised at screenings of my new film One Peace at a Time, we are halfway to full funding for the school. Working with GlobalGiving.com, we’ve launched 1000 Voices for Hope, a campaign to enlist 1,000 good-hearted, smart-thinking people to donate $100 each to build this school.

1000 x $100 = HOPE – Mahiga HOPE High School.

The first donors – the first members of our choir – are Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett and Emily Robison and Marty Maines of The Dixie Chicks. You can join this amazing choir and sing some beautiful music by making a tax-deductible donation at:

1000 Voices for Hope at GlobalGiving.com

Till Dec 1, GlobalGiving will match 40% of your donation. If we raise over $10,000 by then, they’ll match 50%. Every $100 becomes $150/$500 into $750. Double that with the funding we’ve already raised and you’ve built a school, changed a community, brought real hope and a promising future for hundreds of kids. And I think you’ll find that you’ve changed yourself as well.

Education shouldn’t end after the 8th Grade! Join the Choir! Sing out!

(And please send this post far and wide – we can’t get there without you.)

Mahiga Girls

Author: Turk Pipkin

Turk Pipkin is an Austin-based writer and filmmaker, and the director of three feature documentaries, Nobelity, One Peace at a Time, and Building Hope, which chronicles The Nobelity Project's partnership with a rural Kenyan community to build the area's first high school. Building Hope won the Lone Start Audience Award at the 2011 SXSW Film Festival.

Turk has published ten books of fiction and nonfiction. including the NY Times bestseller, The Tao of Willie, which Turk coauthored with American music legend, Willie Nelson. He is also the author of the novels Fast Greens and When Angels Sing. Turk and his wife Christy Pipkin are the founder sof the education and action nonprofit, The Nobelity Project, online at www.nobelity.org. Turk’s Nobelity Project blog is at: nobelity.blogspot.com. As an actor, Turk played that idiot narcoleptic guy in HBO's The Sopranos. His feature films include Waiting for Guffman, The Alamo, Friday Night Lights and Rick Linklater’s Scanner Darkly.

Acclaim for Building Hope: "Inspirational Red Bull for the humanitarian soul and proof positive that you – yes, you – can help fix our broken world and make a difference in the lives of countless others.’ – The Austin Chronicle

Acclaim for Nobelity: “Nine Ways to Save the World.” —Esquire Magazine “Simply Brilliant. One of the most important films of this or any year.” – Harry Knowles, Ain't it cool

Acclaim for Fast Greens: "Endowed with a vivid sense of time and place. The characters are wonderfully drawn and the dialogue is sharp and colorful.” – The New York Times Book Review

Acclaim for One Peace at a Time: “The most unexpected thing about the film is the humor, joy, and hope that it delivers. This isn’t a doomsday prophecy -- it is an inspiring roadmap to a better world.” —William Michael Hanks, The RagBlog