Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

July 16, 2013

Free concert in park Friday

Tim Preston
The Independent

ASHLAND — Those with worries and real-world problems are most welcome to enjoy a free concert at the bandstand in Central Park on Friday, according to Larry Furr, a lay leader at Hopewell Baptist Church of Monroe, N.C.

The 6 p.m. event, which will begin with a performance by the Ashland-based band Grace Project and continue into the early evening with the North Carolina band Higher Groove, is a celebration to cap several days of multichurch activity in Ashland.

“This is a mission effort involving multiple ministries at multiple locations,” Furr said, explaining 42 members of the church near Charlotte have combined efforts with about 25 individuals from several local churches to tackle projects such as lawn mowing and home repair, visiting senior citizens and entertaining audiences with Christian-based messages through drama and music.

Furr said missions volunteers also spent considerable time with residents at Ashland’s Scope Towers for the “Scope Exchange,” portion of their mission, adding their goal was simply “to give them hope.”

Friday’s concert will begin with members of Grace Project, based at Unity Baptist Church in Ashland, featuring drummer Kevin Nibert, as well as Jason Bennett on lead guitar, vocals and guitar by Tim Woods and bass and vocals by Howard Turner. Nibert noted the band’s regular bassist, Rob Lockhart, is part of a missions team in India.

“We just concentrate on the Christian songs,” Nibert said, noting the band has been playing together for about five years. “Our main focus is to make sure we get the word of God out in our music.”

Furr said the evening’s second band, Higher Groove, includes musicians who’ve had personal struggles with issues, including drugs and alcohol, and who appreciate opportunities to perform for others who are dealing with similar problems. The band, based at Hopewell, is made up of founding members Rodney Harper (lead vocals) and bassist Brad Melton, he said, along with drummer Jeff Kennington and guitarist Reggie Drake.

“Reggie is a really great guitarist ... without the hurts and heartaches of the original guys — and he’s thankful for that,” Furr said, explaining the band essentially converted “from hard rock to Christian music.”

In addition to music, Amy Compston will speak about her life experiences as well as her latest project, Amy for Africa, aimed at helping children in Uganda.

“And, we’ll spice it up a little with a number of nice door prizes, including a TV, MP3 players, toys and probably some gift cards,” Furr said, adding volunteers hope to offer guests popcorn and water, although no refreshments will be served or sold as part of the event.

“It is free and open to the public,” Furr said, estimating the show will continue until 8 or 9 p.m.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2651.