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Free concert features album release

Kent and Shantel Dudley of Bended Knee are shown with their band: bottom row, the Dudleys; second row, Sheree Lindgren and Christina Roy; third row, Andrew Weems and Travis White, and top row, Jimmie Wiley.

BEMIDJI - When Kent Dudley and his band step on stage at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Sanford Center, it will be the first step in their quest to reach more than a handful of people in telling the promise of hope and healing.

The hall will open at 5:30 p.m. and accommodate 600 people. There is no admission or parking fee for the event. A free-will offering to offset costs will be accepted.

Dudley resigned as chaplain at Havenwood Care Center and GoldPine Home, and pastor at Faith Bible Chapel in Clearbook in 2010.

"I felt a call," said Dudley during a phone interview. "It's not just music, it's sharing the gospel and also personal testimony by my wife, Shantel. It's a message of hope and healing."

Dudley has worked to put together a band of local musicians like drummer Andrew Weems, who played with Taken Up for five years. Weems and bass player Sheere Lindren are from Clearbrook; Jimmie Wiley from Leonard is on keyboard; lead guitarist Travis White is from Northome; Shantel and their daughter Christina Troy are on vocals and Kent plays rhythm guitar.

This concert will be the national release of their new CD, "He Gave Me A Friend," recorded at Tate Music in Oklahoma.

"Our country has had a great deal of prosperity and yet still not found peace and hope in that," said Dudley. "We are still looking for that fulfillment in Christ."

The Dudley's shared their message during an hour-long program they co-hosted in June for Texas TV in "Texas Country Gospel."

"The Gospel is brought forth through the music; it is inspirational country with hope, family and country," said Dudley. "We are finding open doors everywhere we go. We are blazing a trail down in the southern states with our inspirational gospel but we still play some of the old standards."

The Dudleys have adopted four special needs children and one of them, 8-year-old Victoria, will sing about a life filled with love and hope. Their son, Ryan, will be the drummer at the Sanford event.

"We are very blessed," Dudley said.

The group has a booking agent who is working to set up tours in the Dakotas and North Carolina.