Christian music festival will make a joyful noise

July 13, 2011|By TAYLOR ECKEL |
  • UpFront is one of several bands to perform at the Christian-music based Fairgrounds Festival Saturday at Fairgrounds Park. Members are from left, Steven Wriston, Lori Wriston, Andrew Rajahpillay, Jonathan Kays, Kevin Greszler and Rebecca Campbell.
Photo by J.S. Oppenheim

This Saturday afternoon, Fairgrounds Park in Hagerstown will come alive with family-friendly activities, the music of local Christian bands and a message of hope and healing.

The first-ever Fairgrounds Festival will take place from 1 to 8 p.m. Saturday, July 16, at the South Pavilion at Fairgrounds Park in Hagerstown. The event is free.

“It’s a message of hope and healing through both word and song,” said event organizer Lori Wriston.

The event is hosted by Valor Ministries Inc., a branch of the Hagerstown-based non-profit Women of Valor Ministries Inc.

The festival will showcase four local Christian bands, as well as Christian rapper Shaddai Sons, and three local Christian speakers.

 Wriston said the festival will host a variety of games and activities for children, concession stand food for sale, and more than 20 community vendors. Vendors include representatives from community resources, ministries and area businesses.

Speakers at the event will be Pastor Ken Harris of New Life Church and Ministries, Pastor Pete Zerphy of Hope Bridge Church, and Wriston, who also serves as the director of oversight and development for Valor Ministries Inc. She said they will each give a message focused on “strengthening churches, family and community.”

Wriston’s husband, Steven Wriston, serves as the director of worship and multimedia for Valor Ministries and has coordinated the artists for the festival.

“The intent was to highlight regional worship bands, and get a good mix (of styles),” Steven Wriston said. “Bands were chosen to represent a range of Christian music styles in an attempt to offer something for everyone.”

The Wristons are both members of the band UpFront, which will be playing at the festival.

Steven Wriston said UpFront performs accoustic-driven covers of lesser-known songs by well-known Christian artists such as Brian Doerkson, Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman and Vineyard. He said not all of the songs are worship songs, but they all have a positive, Christian message.

The Hagerstown band Souled Out also performs covers of contemporary Christian music artists such as Third Day, Casting Crowns and Chris Tomlin, according to band leader Vaughn Shatzer.

“We pick songs that have biblical themes that glorify God and Jesus,” Shatzer said. “Our name defines our mission, which, No. 1, is to win souls to Jesus Christ, and, No. 2, is that our lives would be sold out to Jesus Christ.”

Other artists include Shaddai Sons, Smithsburg Valley Worship Band and Living Stones.

Steven Wriston said Shaddai Sons is Christian rap artist Tyree Sterling, a youth pastor at Gateway Ministries in Williamsport. Sterling will perform original rap compositions.

Steven Wriston said Living Stones and Smithsburg Valley Worship Band both play covers of popular contemporary praise and worship music, but the Smithsburg band’s sound is “more high-energy, college-aged, and electric guitar driven.”

If you go:
WHAT: Fairgrounds Festival
WHEN: 1 to 8 p.m. Saturday, July 16
WHERE: Fairgrounds Park, South Pavilion. 351 N. Cleveland Ave., Hagerstown
COST: Free
CONTACT: Go to or call Valor Ministries at 240-329-9387

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