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Musicians journey to making a difference

World Vision
22 July 2014 by Andrew Kitchen
Musicians journey to making a difference

Andrew is the lead singer of Antiskeptic, an alternative rock group based in Melbourne. The group are Vision Artists, a group of people that advocate on behalf of World Vision through their respective mediums.

I have a good wife, her name is Kayte. Committed, passionate, caring, firm when needed and outward focused. We are blessed with 3 boys – Eli (7), Flynn (5) and Gene (3). They are three very different young guys, and we are so unbelievably blessed by each of them.

In 1990, long before even I was on Kayte’s radar, she started sponsoring a child through World Vision. At that same time I was blowing all of my hard-earned money on Star Wars memorabilia and dreaming of being famous. It really didn’t matter what for, but the ‘being famous’ bit was all that mattered. Clearly one of us was more aware of their surroundings and the world in which we lived than the other.

In 2006 we were married, and our first child that we were in some way responsible for was a World Vision sponsor child called Alfred, who was from Kenya. I would read the updates, stick the pictures on the fridge, and with a relatively small amount of money each month, I would feel like I was doing something for the poor.

The being famous bit ended up happening… well, to a moderate degree, and I’m still eternally grateful for all of the good fortune and opportunities that my band has received. There’s hard work, talent, perseverance and just sheer dumb luck. We’ve been recipients of all of those things.

Probably around 2007, I started thinking about what we were using the leverage we had as a band for. Who else was benefiting from the existence of Antiskeptic other than the band members and the people who came to shows and bought records? This was when I started thinking about my personal response to the poor. I remember hearing a song that said “are you giving money to make someone else feel better, or are you giving to make you feel better?” That really challenged me. I was challenged to step up my response to the poor, to more than just a monthly donation.

As the story of Antiskeptic rolled out, an unexpected thing happened. We decided to finish up in 2008. While it was amicable, and I still believe the right thing to do at the time, it did leave me feeling as though I hadn’t fully harnessed that opportunity for others as I could have.

In 2009, I saw a documentary on Dengue Fever. Watching that doco broke my heart. It depicted the prevalence of the disease and the effect it has mainly on young children. I would describe it as death in slow motion. As a parent, I could not imagine what it would feel like watching your child slowly die and being totally unable to help them in any way. At around this time, I was handed a flier advertising a Dengue Fever medical trial through the Austin Hospital.

Now I HATE injections, I nearly cancelled a pre-paid overseas trip once because I forgot that I’d need to have a couple of injections before I left! So for me, taking part in this trial was about overcoming my fears and putting my body on the line for those in need. The trial went for 18 months, and required me to visit the hospital 8-10 times or so for multiple injections and examinations. I would then have to measure, and assess my health, and changes in my health for weeks after each visit. This experience made me wake up to the opportunities locally that can have an international impact.

In 2011, Antiskeptic reformed through popular demand (cough, cough). Not really…Nick (drummer) and I just felt like we still weren’t done with rock music and being loud. Long story short, here we are in 2014 with a new line-up, a new album called ‘Stare Down the Ocean’, a couple of new video clips and a renewed passion for our music and what we can achieve in and through it. Now that we have more than a decade in this industry, we’re re-entering it with different hopes and expectations. I’m hoping that through Antiskeptic, that we can advocate on behalf of the poor and use whatever position of influence we get, for the benefit of others. We are in chats with the guys at World Vision about some innovative, and creative ways of developing that relationship, and doing something powerful and life-changing together.

Ruth is the name of our most recent sponsor child. She lives in Uganda with her three brothers and four sisters! Now Eli, Flynn and Gene are an amazing blessing to us, but they are also a bunch of work. Let there be no mistake. I cannot imagine being part of a family of eight kids in Uganda. Ruth’s mother is also a single-parent! This blows my mind.

So now my response to the poor is two-fold. It is the one, and the many. Through my own income, I am making a difference in the life of a community by sponsoring a child. Through my band, I hope to make a difference in the lives of many.

Andrew Kitchen

Andrew is the lead singer of Antiskeptic, an alternative rock group based in Melbourne. The group are Vision Artists, a group of people that advocate on behalf of World Vision through their respective mediums.

 

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