There was a whole lot of joyful noise coming from the Jersey County Fair's Christian Music Celebration Sunday evening as some of Southwestern Illinois' finest praise bands performed the fair's opening night entertainment. “If you can bring a little bit ...and more »
There was a whole lot of joyful noise coming from the Jersey County Fairâ€™s Christian Music Celebration Sunday evening as some of Southwestern Illinoisâ€™ finest praise bands performed the fairâ€™s opening night entertainment.
â€œIf you can bring a little bit of joy and faith to people, it feels great,â€ said musician Bo Schultz of the Fieldon Praise Band, one of the performing groups. â€œI think this is how it ought to be. Since the county fair represents everybody in the county, churches are a big part of that, and thatâ€™s what we are doing â€” playing music, worshiping God and having a good time.â€
Schultz joined the celebration seven years ago and helped organize the return of the popular event to the Jersey County Fair.
â€œIn the south, we had it every year at the county fair, and they didnâ€™t have anything here, so I decided I wanted to bring it back,â€ Schultz said. â€œI pastor a Baptist church here, and we started getting different groups from different churches to showcase talent in Jersey County. There is all different styles of music, all different types of churches, we all come together to just honor God.â€
Adam Rothe and Jason McAtee performed contemporary Christian music during the concert. Rothe has led worship at church for 11 years, and feels the event at the fairgrounds is great for the area.
â€œItâ€™s fantastic,â€ Rothe said. â€œThere are so many churches in this county alone, and to see them come together to praise God as a group, itâ€™s a really great feeling to join together with them and sing. You are getting to see that God, working through you, is affecting everyone and we can all praise God together. Itâ€™s just a good feeling all around.â€
The Centennial Road Band is another group that performed Sunday evening, and band member Tom Goetten said the county fair is the perfect setting.
â€œThe county fair started years ago to bring communities together,â€ Goetten noted. â€œThat was what it was for, to bring together their produce and livestock. And, what would go more hand-in-hand with that than a Christian program? Of course thatâ€™s the whole essence of being a Christian, to have faith, bring people together, and bring them to the Lord.
â€œBefore it used to be on the stage, in the sun, across from the race track,â€ he said. â€œBut in this pavilion, they have the fans going. Itâ€™s a good turnout, you are right here with the people, you can get the feedback, itâ€™s pretty nice.â€
The performers like to think of themselves as leaders rather than entertainers, he noted.
â€œTo lead praise, rather than just sitting here and entertaining the people,â€ Goetten explained. â€œWe do want them to get up, to clap, to sing to the music that we play. We try to get the audience to interact with us.â€
Christian artists the Gibson Girls rounded out the eveningâ€™s entertainment.
Jersey County Fair Board of Directors member Alex Foster co-coordinated the celebration with Adam Rothe.
â€œThe whole focus of this, is a family-friendly free night of entertainment,â€ Foster said. â€œYou can come out, enjoy quality entertainment in a safe, family environment, and kick off our fair as a family. Itâ€™s a taste of Americana. Itâ€™s family values, and a dependence on our creator, who provides everything. By doing his will, all things happen for good.â€
The Jersey County Fair Christian Music Celebration was sponsored by Kevin and Debbie Traub of the Jerseyville Dairy Queen, which also donated 200 Blizzard treats for the audience. It was produced by the Jersey County Fair in association with the Jersey County Ministerial Alliance.
The crowd listens to Bo Schultz of the Fieldon Praise Band at the Jersey County Fair Christian Music Celebration Sunday evening.
A performer is silhouetted against a banner at the Jersey County Fair Christian Music Celebration.
David Blanchette is a freelance writer and photographer for the Telegraph.
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