McKendree Church to host concert for younger crowd

Friday, February 17, 2012

Greg Franklin hopes to draw a younger crowd to New McKendree United Methodist Church with the upcoming concert by Christian recording artist Kerrie Roberts. She will be joined by local artist Kristin Schweain.

The show Feb. 24 will be part of a series of concerts the church will host throughout the year. Franklin, concert coordinator for the church, said they brought in male artists geared more toward an older crowd last year. He is hoping to draw a younger audience with Roberts' and Schweain's performances.

"With the younger crowd we are trying to get them into the type of worship service we have," Franklin said.

Roberts, 27, released her self-titled debut album in August 2010 and the EP "Once Upon a Time" in October 2011. Before becoming a professional musician, she received a degree in studio music and jazz vocal performance from the University of Miami, toured as a background singer for Engelbert Humperdinck, taught elementary school and worked as an accountant.

"She has a beautiful voice," Schweain said. "I was thrilled when Greg Franklin approached me about opening for her."

Schweain, a Jackson native, was part of Christian band ZOEgirl, which formed in 2000. She began her solo career in 2006 after the band split up. In June 2008, she released her debut solo album "Days of Eden." She currently works as the assistant music director at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Jackson, where she leads contemporary worship services.

"People that don't go to her church or services can get her music," Franklin said.

Franklin plans on having six concerts in this year's series with shows taking place every couple months. At this time, only one other show has been booked. It will feature Todd Agnew and Johnny Diaz with local worship leader Jordan Cox.

While this is the second year for the series, it is the first year the church will donate a portion of the proceeds raised from the concert to local charities.

The first charity will be Melaina's Magical Playland, a charity inspired by Melania Cunningham, the daughter of Andrea and Jeff Cunningham. She was diagnosed with genetic muscular disorder nemaline myopathy and was unable to use a typical playground.

"Our mission is basically to bring an all inclusive and accessible playground to the community," Andrea Cunningham said.

The couple formed the idea in 2008 and started raising money soon after. Cunningham said it is $150,000 short of the goal of $785,000.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the playground, which will be in Cape County Park North, will take place March 9.

"I'll take any opportunity to do something of this fashion that is beneficial and going toward helping people," Schweain said.

Doors open at 6 p.m. and the concert will start at 7 p.m. VIP tickets will cost $20. These tickets are available only online and include a meet and greet with the artists, as well as reserved seating. General admission tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door.

Tickets are available at the church office in Jackson or Gospeland in West Park Mall. Visit www.newmckendree.org to order tickets or for updates on upcoming concerts. Call 243-8487 for more information.

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