Thursday, July 1, 2010U.S. Visa Policies Affect Former Hillsong Member ‘Help Save Ray Campaign’ Offers Free CD with Donation Toward Artist’s ExpensesBy Michael Ireland Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News ServiceE AST BRIDGEWATER, MA ANS — An Australian-born Christian musician has been denied entry into the United States despite the fact he studied at a prestigious American college a decade ago.Ray Nainggolan On May 28th, Australian-born Ray Nainggolan aka Ray & Co was stopped upon arrival at San Francisco International Airport en route to Logan International Airport in Boston, Massachusetts.Ray was questioned as he passed through customs with AU$3,000 in cash and two guitars.U.S. officials detained him for seven hours and asked hundreds of questions, finally concluding that Ray could not proceed any further into the U.S. due to the nature of his visa. He was traveling under the auspices of a B-1 Visitor’s Visa as opposed to a P-1 Entertainment Visa, a non-immigrant visa which allows foreign nationals who are athletes, artists and musical groups to enter into the U.S. for a specific event, competition or performance.The leading official determined that Ray would be a burden on the U.S. economy and sent Ray back to Australia the following day.
On the cusp of his U.S. debut release entitled “White Noise Visions” releasing July 27, Ray was traveling to the U.S. to spend the next three months promoting the album via concert/festival performances, interviews, a video shoot and several other promotional activities.
Ironically, Ray spent four years in the U.S. attending college at Gordon College in Massachusetts beginning in 2000 and, thereafter, was afforded the opportunity to move to Australia where he became involved with the Hillsong movement. He was a featured guitarist on the Hillsong Kids albums “Follow You” and “Tell The World.”
A media release states: “As a result of what can only be viewed as an injustice based upon the letter of the law and a government official’s unwillingness to investigate the matter fully, Chrematizo Label Group joined independent Blue Duck Records and charities Love Can’t Be Baht and The Stable Coffeehouse to form the ‘Help Save Ray Campaign.’”
The purpose of the campaign is to help raise funds on behalf of the burgeoning artist to cover the estimated $3,000 dollars needed to secure a proper P-1 visa and the additional $1,000 to replace the original plane ticket.
Blue Duck Records is an artist-friendly independent record label based in East Bridgewater, Massachusetts. www.blueduckrecords.com
Love Can’t Be Baht was created to support and defend those who have been victims of human trafficking and to raise awareness about this escalating epidemic. www.lovecantbebaht.com/Love_Home.html
The Stable Coffeehouse is a non-profit 501(c)(3) ministry of Matthews Memorial Church located in East Chelmsford, Massachusetts. Their “Cuppa Day” program allows patrons to donate the price of a cup of coffee to help others in need. www.matthewsmemorial.com/The_Stable.html
Tax deductible donations can be made through the Love Can’t Be Baht website (www.lovecantbebaht.com/Love_Home.htm l ) or the Stable Coffeehouse website (www.matthewsmemorial.com/The_Stable.html ). Blue Duck Records is offering a free copy of the 15-track “White Noise Visions” CD to anyone donating $20 or more to support the cause.