Bob Sykes BBQ & Blues Festival Helps Ady’s Army

Bob Sykes BBQ & Blues Festival Helps Ady’s Army

Music Notes

Van Sykes the 2nd generation owner and pit master of Bob Sykes Bbq Restaurant, says “We’re excited to celebrate the 60th birthday of Bob Sykes Bbq at our yearly Bbq & Blues Festival!”

Bob Sykes Bbq will celebrate its 60th Anniversary while hosting its 8th Annual Bob Sykes Bbq and Blues Festival on Saturday, May 20 from Noon-8pm. The event combines the music of award winning local and national blues musicians with great bbq at DeBardeleben Park in historic downtown Bessemer. The blues musicians set to perform include Chris Simmons, Albert White and the MusicMaker Revue, Eight O’Five Jive, Markey Blue, The Norman Jackson Band and Joe Louis Walker. There is something to do for the entire family including a large kids corner with activities and games, arts and crafts, outdoor exhibits, and legendary Bob Sykes Bbq.

A portion of the festival proceeds will benefit the Birmingham based non-profit, Ady’s Army (www.adysarmy.org) whose mission is “serving God by serving special needs families.” Money raised will be used to support programs like “Fins,” which teaches special needs children how to swim and “Paws,” which helps families secure service dogs for children with severe autism. “This is massive for us. We are thrilled and honored,” says Brian Shubert who founded Ady’s Army with his wife Chrissy. The organization is named after their daughter Ady, who has autism. “We are a literally a mom and pop non-profit. This is huge for us.” The organization’s goal is to “defeat the financial stress and loneliness caused by autism, providing resources one ‘piece’ and one family at a time.”

The festival will also be honoring National Armed Forces Day by offering Military Discounts to all active and retired military. Simply present your Military ID at the gate to receive $10 off your general admission ticket. General admission and VIP Tickets can also be purchased at www.bobsykesblues.com or at Bob Sykes Bar B Q Restaurant. Children twelve and under are free with a ticketed adult. †

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Music Notes: Steven Curtis Chapman

Music Notes: Steven Curtis Chapman

 Steven Curtis Chapman & The ASO Perform at Samford

Under the direction of conductor Chris Confessore, the Alabama Symphony Orchestra and Steven Curtis Chapman will perform live April 22 at Samford.

The Alabama Symphony Orchestra (ASO) is partnering with Samford University to present an evening of great music with multiple Grammy and Dove Award winning contemporary Christian Artist Steven Curtis Chapman. The ASO has been collaborating with Samford University to perform concerts in The Wright Center for several years, and the April 22 Chapman performance marks the third consecutive year The ASO and Samford have co-presented an artist.

ASO conductor Chris Confessore handles the logistics of bringing the artist and Symphony together in one crowd-pleasing performance. Per Confessore, his conducting serves “as a musical facilitator between the guest artist and the band.” Of the pairing of the ASO and Chapman, Confessore observes “Steven Curtis Chapman seemed like the next logical artist to present with Samford,” adding that the pairing is due in part to Chapman’s immense popularity, but also because, “he’s incredibly warm, and that reflects in his music and on stage.”

The first half of the concert will be a performance by the ASO who will then be joined by Chapman performing an overview of the songs for which he is best known. The ASO is the very first orchestra to perform this set of arrangements with Chapman. Confessore says about the collaboration, “Anyone who is a fan of contemporary Christian music would enjoy the program.” The concert is Saturday, April 22, at 8 p.m. in Samford’s Wright Center. To purchase tickets, visit alabamasymphony.org or call (205) 975-2787. Ticket prices range from $25 to $75.

  • Rachel Biddy

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Special Feature: Laura Story

Special Feature: Laura Story

WORSHIP with Laura Story

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Laura Story won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Song, “Blessings” in 2012 and a Dove Award for Inspirational Song of the Year, “O Love Of God” in 2015. She is a native of Spartanburg, S.C. where she sang in the church choir as a child and played bass and keyboard as a teen for the band Silers Bald.

GRAMMY award-winning artist Laura Story was launched into the spotlight when her single “Blessings” spent 28 consecutive weeks as the No. 1 hit on Billboard’s Contemporary Christian chart in 2011. The song was inspired by her husband Martin’s diagnosis with a brain tumor, and it resonated with an audience that admired her candidness about adversity. Martin had survived treatment and surgery—but not without significant damage to his brain. What Story thought would be a detour in her husband’s health ended up the “new normal.”

Preparing to release a new album on March 3 and perform in Birmingham at Shades Mountain Baptist Church on March 9, Story celebrates the milestones she once wasn’t sure her family would reach 6 years ago. While still impacted by vision problems, short-term memory loss and a suppressed immune system, husband Martin has been able to work part time as a baseball coach. The couple also has three children—a four-year-old daughter and twin two-year-old sons. The Senior Worship Leader at Perimeter Church in Atlanta since 2005, Story says strong relationships in the church and the pursuit of a deeper understanding of worship have strengthened her as a mother, a wife and a songwriter in recent years.

“I was just with a group looking at Psalms 73, which talks about as believers the perspective change we experience as we come into the presence of God. And not just the presence of God—it talks about the sanctuary of God, referring more to corporate worship,” she says. “It’s a perspective change that happens when we meet in God’s presence with God’s people. That has been a lifesaver for me because when I do have those low moments, [I know] that if I belong to the Lord then I’m not walking through this alone. I have both His presence guiding me and comforting me as well as His people surrounding me and pointing me toward Him.”

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Laura Story and her husband Martin Elvington live in Atlanta, Ga. with their three children Benjamin Cary (2), Griffin James (2), and Josie (4).

Story published a detailed account of finding deeper intimacy with Jesus amidst her fight for her husband’s health in the book When God Doesn’t Fix It in 2015, and last year she began classes for a doctorate degree in worship at The Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies. Focusing on how God’s people have worshipped Him throughout the ages and what God’s Word says about how He should be worshipped today, Story says what she is learning is helping her grow in her ability to coach her younger fans on being intentional about how they come together before the Lord. “The Lord continues to open up doors for me to be equipping this next generation. I don’t want to tell [them] this is how you worship, because I feel like God’s doing a new thing there,” she says, “but I do think there are good biblical principles I can instill in these young’uns then step back and see what God might do through them.”

Biblical principles of worship, Story explains, include prizing the reverence of God and making sure a worship service becomes a meeting place between God and His people, “where they get to hear the voice of God through the sermon, through the truths, and then they get to respond to Him through prayer and song and celebrate the things that He’s done.” She calls leading worship a “weighty responsibility,” a job not to be taken lightly or handed off to any person with musical inclinations.

At home, Story says teaching her children truths about God’s presence and expectations has been a blessing of its own. “As much as we strive to be good parents, we [will] fail, but [we point] them to the God who never will fail,” she says. “That’s what my parents did for me, and that’s what I’m trying to do for my kids.” Besides giving her children chances to catch her living out her faith or reading her Bible, Story makes home an atmosphere of grace and repentance. “I think about a time I lost my patience: my daughter was being unbelievably disobedient, and I totally lashed out at her. I went to her and said I need to ask for your forgiveness. I yelled at you, and I want to be more patient. Now it’s your turn. So she apologized to me for being disrespectful, and I said let’s pray together and ask God to make both of us more patient and more respectful.” Story admits, “It’s kind of a new concept for me–parenting like that–but gosh there’s so much about parenting that I’m learning, and more than anything I am just staying on my knees asking Him to show me the mom He wants me to be.”

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Hear Laura Story sing songs from her new project Open Hands and old favorites, March 9 at Shades Mountain Baptist. Her new project is available for purchase at Sanctuary Christian Books and Gifts in Alabaster beginning March 3.

Story’s new album, Open Hands, is a product of seeing worship not just as the words she sings but the very posture of her heart. “True worship is more than adoration; it’s coming before a faithful, trustworthy Father with open hands. Whatever comes, let me not respond with clenched fists as if I know best. It’s not just saying, ‘Hey you’re great God,’ but saying, ‘Because you are great, I want to give my life to you. Because you are trustworthy, I’m going to trust you with this hard thing.’ We buy into that myth that greater peace comes when we have greater control. But the Bible actually teaches that greater peace comes when we get to a point of letting go.”

Join Story in worshipping God through song March 9 at 7 p.m. at Shades Mountain Baptist in Hoover. The concert will benefit the Samford University Legacy League, which provides scholarships for students with significant financial need and challenging circumstances. For tickets, call 205-726-2853 or visit https://www.samford.edu/legacyleague.

 

-Camille Smith Platt

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Music Notes

Music Notes

Christmas in Four-Part Harmony at the Lyric

It’s 7 p.m. on a Monday night and the richness of four-part harmony begins to echo throughout the Fellowship Hall at Saint Mark United Methodist Church in Vestavia Hills. Director Matt Powell leads a warm-up session as Voices of The South begins its rehearsal. The men’s a cappella chorus is an award winning group of about 30 men who meet weekly to enjoy an evening of singing and fellowship. A part of the Barbershop Harmony Society, the group is dedicated to preserving a style of music that is original to the United States. “Barbershop harmony today is not your grandfather’s barbershop,” Chapter President Ed Wharton says. “We do a wide variety of music ranging from the old classic ‘Shine on Me’ to the more recent Leonard Cohen tune ‘Hallelujah’, and all of it is sung in four-part harmony.

The group is hard at work preparing for their annual show “Christmas at the Lyric,” December 17 at 7 p.m. As the name reflects, the performance will be at the recently restored downtown Birmingham Lyric Theatre. The show is predominately a presentation of Christmas music but also contains a sampling of the chorus’ non-Christmas favorites. “Christmas at the Lyric” marks the 17th annual show the chorus has presented. “The show is extra special for us this year with the reopening of the Lyric Theatre as one of the great performance venues in the central Alabama area,” Wharton says. “In January of this year Voices of the South became the first act in 65 years to perform on the stage of the Lyric. Now with having our show there we are honored to be part of its entertainment line-up for 2016.”

Voices of the South stays active throughout the year. “We perform at various events and competitions,” says Powell. “We do a wide variety of music — old, new, secular, religious, patriotic, and of course, Christmas. And, our performances are family friendly. You never have to worry about being embarrassed by the content of our programs.”

Linc Parrott is the chapter’s Vice President of Membership. “We welcome all men of good character to be a part of our organization,” Parrott says. “Our oldest member is 86 years old while our youngest is 15. What we all share is a love of music and a respect for one another.” In addition to singing, Voices of the South supports Wings of Hope Pediatric Foundation, a local charity providing assistance to parents who have terminally ill children. For more information about Voices of the South visit voicesofthesouth.com. To purchase tickets to “Christmas at the Lyric,” go to lyricbham.com/events. †

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Music Notes

Night of Song Helps Children in Need 

screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-12-18-36-pmGrammy Award Winning singer/song writer Amy Grant’s recent visit to Birmingham marked the 10th Anniversary of the Auxiliary of the Big Oak Ranch and raised more than $57,000 for the 150 children who call the Big Oak Ranch home, www.bigoak.org. Grant sang to an enthusiastic crowd of more than 1000 at the Samford Wright Center and was joined on stage by children from the Ranch who thanked her for her efforts. Learn more about the Auxiliary and how you can help the Ranch by visiting www.bigoakauxiliary.com.

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Amy Grant with Exec. Dir. of Big Oak Ranch, Brodie Croyle with his wife, Kelli and Founder of Big Oak Ranch, John Croyle with his wife, Tee. Photo Credit: Dee Moore

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Caleb and Sadies from Big Oak Ranch thank Amy Grant for her performance. Photo Credit: Dee Moore

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Vulcan AfterTunes 2016

The stage is set for Vulcan AfterTunes 2016! This year’s series will feature two Alabama acts and one funky jazz group that will have you on your feet. The opening acts are local as well! It all takes place at Vulcan Park and Museum.

vulcanatjasonhi-23Dylan LeBlanc will perform with Duquette Johnston on September 25, Big Sam’s Funky Nation with Tragic City take the stage on October 9, and Amanda Shires with Jesse Payne perform on October 23. Chill out in Birmingham’s backyard with your lawn chairs and blankets and bring the whole family out to enjoy some of the country’s best rising entertainers. General admission is $15; Vulcan members and children ages 5–12 $8; children 4 and under are free. Ticket price includes admission to the concert, the Vulcan Center Museum and Vulcan’s observa- tion tower.

Tickets are available at visitvulcan.com or at the gate. Gates open at 1 p.m., opening acts begin at 2:30 p.m. and headliner acts begin at 4:00 p.m. Onsite parking is limited but shuttles will be available to overflow parking lots.

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Jessica Webster: An Inspirational Voice

Birmingham’s Jessica Webster never expected her music to be recorded and shared, but her talent and passion as a singer couldn’t be contained when God called her to share her story. Her first performances were in school and church where she thought her limits were reached. Mercy Me and Jamie Grace then became inspirations to Webster and she began to understand how she could more fully use her talents to God’s glory. After a stressful time in middle school and early high school when many classmates can be quite harsh, God gave her a wake up call.Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 10.37.17 AM

“I feel like God gave me a gift to share his Word,” Webster explained. “He led me to realize it’s not my music, but that it’s His music.” It wasn’t long before Webster began seeing the true potential of her talents as a contemporary Christian singer/songwriter. At the age of 16 she received the “Youth Artist of the Year” at the 2015 Artist Music Guild Heritage Awards.

This year she was also named “Country Gospel Youth Artist of the Year” at the 2016 Crimson Music Awards, and she has released her first single “Back to the Cross.” The song’s lyrics tell the story of a girl who needed the love of Christ just as much as He needed her. “Back to the Cross” is available on Apple iTunes, Spotify, and YouTube music among others. “It’s exciting to get my music out there to share my testimony,” Webster said. For Jessica this is just the beginning of a journey God has called her on to inspire others with her amazing talents blessed by God.

 

–Brian Hill

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Amy Grant: Granting an Alabama, Big Oak Wish

When Amy Grant takes the stage at Samford University’s Wright Center September 20 for a concert benefiting Big Oak Ranch, a near 25-year-old wish will come true.Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 5.20.55 PM

The story of the wish begins with 1989 Westminster Christian School graduate Maureen Willard. The very next year Big Oak Ranch acquired the Rainbow City, Ala. school and it became Westbrook Christian School. However, in 1988, a year before graduation, Maureen was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. The illness continued to worsen resulting in Magic Moments offering her one wish. While pondering the decision during treatment, Maureen would listen to Amy Grant’s music. Maureen’s wish became to visit the Grammy award winning singer/songwriter and encourage her to perform a concert benefitting Big Oak Ranch. Maureen had a deep love for Westminster Christian, Big Oak Ranch and their work. Her father Bill Willard explains, “The loving Christian environment of Westminster contributed significantly to the development of Maureen’s strong faith and commitment to Jesus Christ. After her illness made further studies impossible, work as a volunteer at the Ranch gave meaning, purpose and fulfillment to her final days.” Maureen’s dream of meeting Amy Grant was fulfilled, but she passed away before her wish for a concert could come true…until now. Auxiliary of Big Oak Ranch member Susan Taylor reached out to Amy about being a part of the Auxiliary’s 10-year anniversary celebration. “When all the pieces started falling into place we fully believed that this was a God ordained event and even though Maureen is not here her wish is still being honored,” Taylor said.

Gail Garner charter board member, and second Vice President of the auxiliary was there when Phyllis DePiano and Joann Bashinsky started the organization 10 years ago because they wanted to help provide extras for the Ranch. One result is an amazing system for the children to earn points to spend at a boutique for girls and an outfitters shop for boys. Academic achievement, obeying rules and reciting Bible verses earn points. Funds raised from the September 20 concert featuring Amy Grant will allow the boutique to buy clothes, shoes, and jewelry. Additionally, the funds will also provide the outfitters shop with items such as paintball and sporting equipment as well as electronic games and gas cards for boys to purchase with the points they have accumulated. “We don’t take donations of used goods because these children deserve to have the best. We get the money for the boutique and outfitters, as well as other items the Auxiliary provides from fundraising activities and donations,” GScreen Shot 2016-08-29 at 5.20.49 PMarner said. “Each year we also buy laptops for graduating high school seniors from the Ranch.

The cause for Amy Grant’s concert couldn’t be more noble. Maureen wanted to pray about her wish and God heard her call. 25 years later her wish will come true on the campus of Samford University and Maureen’s family from as far away as Michigan will be there. To learn more visit
www.bigoakauxiliary.com/2016_fundraiser. To be a part of this event visit www.tickets.samford.edu or call 726-2853.

-Brian Hill

 

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Music Notes

Steel City Sound: Birmingham’s Horn Band

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Steel City Sound is an outreach ministry of Glennwood Baptist and will perform at the opening of the church’s Super September Celebration Series September 11 at 6pm. Band members, L to R back row: Steve Garrett, Jay Garrett, Michael Saddekni, Garrett Neill, Steve Collins, Peggy McKay, Eugene Bates. Front row: David Cowan, Clay Alligood, Terry Webster, Chuck King.

When it comes to music to tap your foot or clap your hands to look no further than the 12 piece modern horn band Steel City Sound. Leader and trumpet player Terry Webster helps combine familiar praise and worship songs with horn stylings of bands like Chicago and Tower of Power. The result is an amazing blend of sounds that bring generations of families together in a way seldom seen by any other music genre. “Steel City Sound has been performing together since 2013 and we have already worked with some world class musicians like Dee Dee Sharp, Chubby Checker, and most recently Bucky Covington,” Webster said.

The band’s high energy and exceptional cohesion keep audiences engaged with songs like “Everlasting God” and “10,000 Reasons.” Webster’s friend and accomplished composer Jeff Anderson has provided music for over 2,000 churches and partners with Steel City Sound. The band and Anderson have teamed up to produce Retro Hymns 2 set to debut August 27. Anderson is thrilled to work with the band and admires Webster’s excitement and passion for music. “I write music I believe will move people and work with the groups to translate it to live and Steel City Sound does it phenomenally,” Anderson said.

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Terry Webster splits his time between being band leader of Steel City Sound and worship leader at Glennwood Baptist.

In addition to putting on fantastic shows wherever the band travels, they also minister to the lost when the opportunity arises. This could not be possible for Terry without the support of his wife Tammy who has been an integral part of the ministry from day one and also helped in naming the band. When he’s not traveling with the band, Terry calls Glennwood Baptist in Morris his church home and serves as worship leader.

Beginning Sunday September 4, Glennwood Baptist is hosting a Super September Celebration Series you will not want to miss. Furthermore, September 11, the Steel City Sound will be the opening concert for the series performing at 6 p.m. The series will also feature Crimson Ridge in concert and a prophecy conference with John Killian among other noteworthy guests.

To find out more about the upcoming Super September Series visit www.myglennwood.org.

 

 

-Brian Hill 

 

 

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