Rock music, a picnic and a chance to help others in the local community — Western Fairfax Christian Ministries (WFCM) is bringing it all together.
Along with Floris United Methodist Church and His Glory Ministries, it will host the first annual Praise Band Concert and Picnic, Saturday, May 10, from 1-7 p.m. in the Bull Run Regional Park pavilion.
Two large grills will be provided, so attendees are encouraged to bring picnic food and something to cook, as well as lawn chairs and sunscreen. Dorothy Fonow, WFCM's executive director, is optimistic that the sun is going to shine, that day.
Entry fee is goods to replenish WFCM's food pantry. Items needed are: Canned meats, fish, pasta, fruit and meat meals (such as stews and chunky-type soups), jellies, spaghetti sauce, fruit juices, apple sauce, dry pasta and baby and personal-care items.
In another opportunity to help others, Floris will be collecting donations for its Just Neighbors ministry, which helps recent legal immigrants get their necessary documents and legal advice. There'll also be raffles and drawings to benefit this cause, with prizes provided by the Family Christian Store in Manassas.
"Last year, when I first came on board, we kept running out of food because of increased demand," said Fonow. "And when I visited our 27 [member] churches, I realized we have this wonderful resource in our bands, and I wanted to do something to bring us together in fellowship."
AT FLORIS, SHE SPOKE WITH SARAH NEWMAN who was trying to raise money for its Just Neighbors ministry. And in August, Melvyn and Cheryl Hardy of His Glory Ministries — which performs contemporary Christian music at various locations — put on a small concert which brought in some food for WFCM.
"Melvyn's wife Cheryl mentioned that they'd like to work with other bands to do something like this, in the future, on a larger scale," said Fonow. "And I though, 'Yeah, we can do that.'"
As a result, all three organizations have banded together to put on the benefit concert. Sponsors American Storage, BB&T Bank, Cornerstone Mortgage and Keener Insurance helped with the cost of renting the pavilion. And students from Trinity Christian School, plus youth-group members from various churches, will provide site set-up and services, the day of the concert.
"I'm really excited — I think it's going to be good," said Fonow. "I hope to make it an annual event where families and friends can all have fun, come together and help other people."
Melvyn Hardy and one of his band members, Cam Towner, made the arrangements for all the bands. The show schedule is as follows: 1-2 p.m., His Glory Band; 2-3 p.m., Full Circle Band; 3-4 p.m., Christ the Redeemer Band; 4-5 p.m., Cornerstone Band; 5-6 p.m., Wellspring Band; and 6-7 p.m., New Life Christian Band.
Hardy, of Centre Ridge, is the lead singer in His Glory Band, which mixes rock and roll with country, rhythm and blues, hip hop and jazz. "We play contemporary Christian rock, similar to what you hear on the radio," he said. "We write our own music and will have our CD out in June. We also do music by the Newsboys and Mercy Me, and we have that type of sound."
HIS GLORY BAND HAS DEDICATED ITSELF to helping out people in need and has done benefit concerts for worthy organizations. It also helps bring churches together to pray jointly for situations in the community — such as local residents serving in the military in the War in Iraq — that cut across the lines of religious denominations.
Everyone in Hardy's band attends a different church, and he's the worship leader at NOVA Worship Center in Chantilly. His Glory Band also performs at lots of youth rallies for various churches. Hardy plays rhythm guitar, and Rigel Russell plays lead guitar and produced the group's CD in his Living Waters studio in Manassas
Keyboard player and vocalist Lynn Dobbins also writes songs and is producing her own CD, bass guitarist and vocalist Cam Towner is a Navy master chief stationed at the Pentagon, and Mike Heller adds the unifying touch with his drumming. At the concert, the band's songs will include its original tunes, "To the Least of These," "Heart Like Your Heart" and "Most High" — the title cut off its CD, plus the Newsboys' "It is You" and "Amazing Love."
"We believe in what WFCM's food pantry does, and we want to help them," explained Hardy. "We thought, if we could make enough noise as a band, we could bring attention to it and let people know that those shelves don't always stay stocked and the WFCM could use some help. We figure He gives us talent not just to stay within the church, but to bring it to the streets and make people aware of those in need."
David Young heads the Christ the Redeemer Band whose youthful, lively sound gets things off to a rousing start, Sunday mornings, in church. Cornerstone, of the Church at Northern Virginia, features Shawn Barnard on drums; Shane Heath, guitar; his brother Travis, bass; Joe Evans, piano and Rachel Dilda, backup vocals and horns. Their style incorporates alternative worship, gospel, funk and rock and roll.
NEW LIFE'S BAND IS ONE OF FOUR BANDS at New Life Christian Church and plays music popular with Generation X, including a mix of radio music from artists such as Delirious, Sonic Flood and Third Day. Bass player Corey Brown leads the team playing at the benefit concert.
Wellspring was founded by Joe and Ruth Varona, David and Sharon Goddard and Deanna Mingo. The band writes many of its own songs and will play both new and old worship music. The Full Circle Band hails from Floris United Methodist Church and has more than 30 members. Directed by worship leader Kevin Havens, it features a variety of electric, acoustic and bass guitars, drums, keyboards and vocalists.
Its music includes hits from today's top Christian recording artists, including Michael W. Smith, Caedmon's Call, Steven Curtis Chapman, Tommy Walker, Twila Paris, Randy Travis, Audio Adrenaline and Amy Grant.