Three local bands from Roswell battled it out on stage in Battle of the Bands 2023, while also raising donations for the nonprofit Saprea. Lilac Wine stole the show, winning the competition with their skillful musicianship and adventurous arrangements.
This stellar trio features three voices in harmony singing popular songs of all genres, elegantly backed by a driving acoustic guitar and a punchy upright bass. Lilac Wine is the ideal small acoustic ensemble for the perfect blend of traditional styles and classic songs performed with taste.
"The Battle of the Bands event has many levels of benefits for the work at Saprea," says Lynda Lee Smith, chief development officer of Saprea. "First, it brings awareness to the global epidemic of child sexual abuse and the tremendous impact it has on our society. Secondly, it elevates the prevention and healing resources available at no cost from Saprea: in-person survivor retreats, online healing webinars, support groups, trainings, and over 75+ online self-teaching resources. Thirdly, the event generated critical resources to allow Saprea to continue offering all of their resources and services at no cost to those who need them."
Meet Lilac Wine
Gbeke “Beks” Fawehinmi is a performer hailing from Dallas, TX and currently resides in Atlanta, GA. She has experience in film, stage, and even interactive theatre. Her most recent credits include the Sleepy Hollow Experience and Mad Hatter’s G&T Party for FeverUp, Arden of Feversham at Aux Dog Theatre, and The Diary of Anne Frank at Santa Monica Repertory Theatre. She received her Bachelor of Arts at Pomona College in Claremont CA, where she double majored in mathematics & theatre with a concentration in performance. She recently began performing music professionally, and has been singing with Lilac Wine for a year now. Her biggest passion is bringing stories to life, whether it be onstage, in front of a camera, or through music.
“I’m so happy to have performed in my very first Battle of the Bands, all the while supporting Saprea and their fight against sexual abuse. The fact that I can use my talent to lift others up means the world to me. I had such a fun time being a part of the event, especially listening to the other bands, and I’m so thankful to all who voted for us to win!”
Robert Henson is one of Atlanta's most versatile musicians having played and/or recorded as a bass player with a wide array of musical groups including the Who, Yacht Rock Revue, the Atlanta Opera Orchestra, Electric Avenue and numerous singer-songwriters such as Shawn Mullins, David Ryan Harris and Vince Gill. From 2006 to 2012 Rob recorded five records and toured 150 shows a year with singer/songwriter Corey Smith, headlining sold-out concerts throughout the U.S. and opening for legendary acts such as ZZ Top, Willie Nelson, Cheap Trick, Snoop Dogg, Eric Church and Merle Haggard. In response to these incredible musical experiences, Robert formed Lilac Wine in 2014 to explore innovative ways of performing acoustic-themed popular music. His band has since been consistently in demand for a wide range of public, corporate and private events in the Atlanta area and throughout the Southeastern U.S.
“It is an honor to help bring awareness to the public about Saprea and all they do to confront child sexual abuse,” says Robert. “So many societal ills stem from these childhood traumas and they are often not spoken about or treated. The Battle of the Bands event was a perfect way to engage with the Roswell community, raise awareness and enjoy an amazing evening at the Chattahoochee Nature Center.”
A veteran of the Atlanta music scene for 35 years, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Tim Ussery stays busy as an in-demand session musician for live and studio performances. His credits include recording with Grammy-nominated producer Warren "Oak" Felder and two-time Grammy-winning producer Don Mccollister. Tim also is a sought-after live performer having shared the stage with members of the Allman Brothers Band, Wide Spread Panic and, most notably, a former and founding member of the earliest incarnation of Georgia's own Grammy-winning Zac Brown Band.
Founded in 2014, Saprea exists to liberate individuals and society from child sexual abuse and its lasting impacts. Saprea empowers survivors with healing strategies, skills, and resources to reduce trauma symptoms, experience post-traumatic growth, and significantly improve the quality of their lives. They also encourage parents and caregivers to proactively learn and apply the preventative skills needed to reduce the risk of sexual abuse that could impact the children they love. Saprea is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity, funded by a combination of public and private donations.