Hurricane inspired local nonprofit performance group

The year was 2005 and, like most of us, Andy Gazak watched the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina and wanted to do something that would make an impact on those in need.

Working as an actor, singer and dancer, he knew his gift was in performing arts. But how could that help those who are suffering?

"Then God strongly impressed upon me to 'act out of the area of your strength.' From virtually nothing, a nonprofit organization was formed: Community Impact Productions, and the name said it all," said Gazak, founder, executive producer and director of the organization.

CIP does not have its own venue, so it rehearses at Concord Christian Church for its coming presentation of "An Evening of Joy" at The Core on Saturday. "Occasionally we rehearse in other donated facilities, and we have performed in various venues including the Kannapolis Performing Arts Center and Vintage Motor Club," Gazak said.

Don't think this is a low-end performance. This 90-minute musical variety show features some of the finest talent from the area, and a delicious buffet meal will be served.

Gazak hopes to grow and expand the organization so it can do more shows and events. His 2012 schedule already has two productions in the works, "all so we can assist the humanitarian efforts in our county to help the less fortunate," he said.

CIP has existed for more than six years in Cabarrus County, as a ministry outreach and an entertainment company. Anyone can join, in such areas as choir, ensemble, drama, dance, lighting, costumes, makeup, public relations, advertising, promotion, technical and much more.

Its main purposes are to perform inspirational entertainment and to raise financial support for humanitarian efforts through its partnership with Cooperative Christian Ministry.

"We encourage people from all over the area to check us out and visit us online, join us in the choir, behind the scenes or in many other areas and help us make a difference and an impact in people's lives and our community," Gazak said.

For more information about CPI or to buy tickets to "An Evening of Joy," go to This one-time performance is scheduled for 6-8:30 p.m. Saturday at The Core, at Pitts Baptist Church's rear complex. From Interstate 85 Exit 58, go seven miles southwest on U.S. 29. Turn right (west) onto Pitts School Road and go half-mile to The Core on the right.

Tickets are $12 per person or $80 for a table for eight.