Rise Up Tour to promote positivity

Corryn Brock, Staff Reporter

The Rise Up Tour will visit Eastern on Thursday at 7 p.m. in McAfee Gymnasium. Doors open at 6 p.m.

The Rise Up Tour will feature a speech from Michael Cobb, the band Ballenger, Breaking the Grey and the performer Quese. The event is being put on by Sports World. The theme of the event is to encourage people to make positive choices. The featured speaker and performers will give some insight to choices they have made in the past they feel impacted them negatively.

Tickets are currently available for the event. Those who would like to attend but are unable to get their tickets before the doors open can get their tickets at the event. General admission is free, and there will be standing room only.

Tim Broad, Director of Operations at Sports World, said while Sports World has been bring athletes to speaking to students at local middle and high schools for over five years, they have not held a concert in the area before.

Broad says those speaking will talk about their experiences in life and he hopes it will leave a positive impact on those in attendance.

Headlining the event is Cobb. Cobb is a former NFL football tight end. Cobb was a first round draft pick for the Cincinnati Bengals in 1977 and later played for the Chicago Bears. Cobb has been in Central Illinois speaking with local high schools and middle schools about making positive choices.

The band Ballenger will be performing for the event. According the the band’s website, the front man of the group, Billy Ballenger, dealt with bullying growing up and later became incarcerated due to his “lifestyle of local burglaries and violence.” He later decided to pursue religion and music, which has led to his performances in four countries and appearances on international television.

Billy Ballenger will also be speaking with the group Breaking the Grey, of which he is the President and co-founder.

Quese will be opening for the band Ballenger. He described his music as hip-hop, R&B style, pop style and soft worship. Quese said he hopes students come to “have fun and be unified.”

Quese encourages those attending the event to come with open hearts and minds, saying, “leave segregated hearts and minds at the door.”

He also hopes that those attending leave with this message: “You are enough. You don’t have to be something else, you don’t have to be like somebody else. Who you are is enough, just be yourself.”

Another theme of the event is suicide prevention. Sarah Bush-Licoln Memorial Hospital is a sponsor of the event and those will have the option to learn about services offered at the hospital to they can receive help from in times of need.

Broad said he hopes students leave encouraged.

“We hope that they come with an open mind, and have fun in a positive environment.”

Corryn Brock can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].