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City residents gather to give peace a chance

August 31, 1997

By CLYDE FORD

Staff Writer

About 300 Hagerstown residents were willing to give peace a chance on Saturday at Hagerstown City Park.

Peace Fest organizer Glenn Toms said that he was pleased by the first ever event and plans to start working on next year's immediately.

"It takes time to get built up. The Western Maryland Blues Festival started small and look how it's grown," he said.

Toms said he wanted an event to "bring us all together, one nation, under God."

"We're all one nation. There's no such thing as white or black men. We were all created by God. Man created the images of white and black. The only way to get rid of racism is to talk about it," Toms said.

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Gospel, jazz and Christian rock groups performed throughout the day.

"We didn't know how they'd accept our style since this is mostly gospel," said bass player Drew Barnhart, 22, of Hagerstown, a member of the band Desperation.

The group described their music as "emotional hard core."

Lucy Jones, 80, of Hagerstown, enjoyed all of the different types of music.

"It's beautiful," she said. "I just wish more people would have come out, more of the churches, and more organizations should have been here today.

"It's just nice to see blacks and whites together," Jones said.

Y.I. Wilson, 52, of Hagerstown, said she saw leaflets about the festival and decided to go to listen to the music.

"It was well put together. The only problem is Hagerstonians doesn't seem to like to come out to things," she said. "If this had happened in Frederick or Montgomery County it would have a crowd, a very large crowd."

Wilson said she thought the speakers were inspiring.

"The speakers were very good," Wilson said.

They ranged from ministers to Hagerstown's Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II.

Amy Carey, 20, of Hagerstown, said she just wanted to listen to the music and spiritual messages.

"People need to get together. Things like this should happen more. This would be a nicer places if everyone heard the word of God. Some people it's hard to get in church," said Carey, who said she doesn't attend church as often as she would like.

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