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City Park rocks with praise

June 08, 2008|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI

HAGERSTOWN - Jay Gantz and his girlfriend, Leslie Metz, said they were looking for something positive to do Saturday night. They settled on going to Praise at the Park, a concert at City Park.

"We saw a flier and wanted to check it out," said Metz, 35, of Hagerstown. "I like that it's positive. We need more positive things in the area."

"It's something different," added Gantz, 47, also of Hagerstown. "It's a good thing."

Now in its seventh year, Praise at the Park has had a variety of names and has included other bands in the past. What remains consistent is an effort to minister to the public through music, children's activities, and free food and drinks.

The band Ps. 150, which plays popular contemporary Christian along with some classic rock music, serves as the worship team at Real Life Community Church. The church meets in the auditorium of Northern Middle School in Hagerstown.

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"Psalm 150 in the Bible tells us to praise the Lord with loud cymbals and stringed instruments," band member Butch Moser said. "That's what we're doing."

At one point during a set, the band had a technical problem resulting in power loss, then quickly resolved the issue.

"We have power, wonder-working power," Moser joked, quoting a traditional hymn. "God works in mysterious ways, sometimes in 15-amp breakers."

Kris Yesko of Williamsport, who attends Real Life, painted children's faces while clowns blew bubbles and created balloon models for other children nearby.

"This let's the community know that we are out here," Yesko said. "And we are not traditional. We're fun."

Moser led the band in a segue from contemporary tunes to some classic rock.

"One of our fortes is taking songs that were written before and coming to realize that it's Christian rock, before there was Christian rock," he said.

The band then broke an impassioned delivery of "Spirit in the Sky" and "Jesus Is Just Alright."

Dave and Pam Greenwood, 46 and 44, of Smithsburg, danced and sang along. The couple said they go to Praise at the Park events each year.

"It's a blast," Dave Greenwood said. "We love doing this - bringing out God's message to the people. There's nothing better than singing it. It's great."

Alvin and Barbie Davis heard about the concert through friends who go to church at Real Life. The two attended the event with their five children.

"This is spectacular," Barbie Davis said. "It's a great outreach for the community."

"I love it," Alvin Davis said. "It's great fellowship."

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