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Patriotic music extravaganza hosted by local church

'Celebrate America' scheduled June 30, July 1
By: Gloria Beverage, Placer Herald Editor
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For the past three years, Destiny Christian Church has presented a patriotic music extravaganza on the weekend prior to America?s Independence Day. This year, the gift of ?Celebrate America? will be presented Saturday, June 30 and Sunday, July 1 at Twin Oaks Park. The fourth annual extravaganza is the brainchild of Destiny?s Creative Arts Director Kent Ferris and his wife, Kathy. While serving as director of music for a church in Concord in the late 1980s, Ferrin received an advertisement from a company offering a high-rise structure built in the shape of the American flag. His church purchased one and used it to create a ?singing flag? centerpiece for the patriotic celebration. ?In Concord, so many churches were doing Christmas and Easter productions,? he said. ?I was looking for something to do that was different ? something that would allow us to make a gift to the community.? That event has become a long-standing tradition in that community, attracting more than 25,000 people each year, he continued. Shortly after moving to Rocklin four years ago, Kathy Ferrin saw a story in the newspaper announcing the suspension of the city?s annual Rocklin Jubilee, a 40-year Independence Day tradition. Ferrin went to the Rocklin City Council meeting and asked if a non-profit agency could take over the event. ?The next day I came to work and told Pastor Greg (Fairrington) what I had said,? Ferrin laughed. ?Fortunately, the senior pastor and board have been very generous to allow us to do this in the first place. They see it as a great gift to the community.? Within three months, he had organized the first event, a family-friendly evening showcasing historic moments and celebrating freedom. It attracted a crowd of 6,000; last year?s crowd topped 12,000. ?I?ve never served in the military. I didn?t come from a military family. I just appreciate what they?ve done. They give their time and their lives to allow me to have freedom,? he said. ?I have to be able to do something like this.? This year?s extravaganza, which pays tribute to both military personnel and emergency responders, will feature American Idol finalist Danny Gokey as the headliner. ?He?s tremendous. He has name recognition across all lines ? people in church, outside church,? he said. ?We want people from all walks of life to come celebrate freedom, police, fire and first responders,? Ferrin said. ?He?ll help us accomplish that.? Gokey competed on season eight of American Idol, finishing in the top three. He caught America?s attention from the start, not only by his powerful and emotional vocals, but also through the story of his wife?s unexpected death just prior to his audition for Idol. His initial album, ?My Best Days,? was released in 2010 and earned a No. 1 berth in chart history with the best first-week digital album sales ever recorded by a debut country act to that point and peaked at No. 4 on Billboard?s top 200 albums chart. In addition to Gokey?s performances, both nights will feature a medley of songs from the different branches of the armed forces, songs representing each state, dances and historic vignettes. Two jumbo LED screens will be placed on either side of stage to broadcast the performances. ?Some songs will have video-enhanced images (on the screens) tied into the songs being performed,? he said. The event area will open at 4 p.m. with pre-show entertainment provided by 12 local bands from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Twelve food vendors offering hamburgers, hot dogs, sandwiches and dessert will be open. A kids? play area with inflatable jump houses will be set up as well as a display of military vehicles, including a Black Hawk helicopter. The main show will begin at 8 p.m. and conclude with an aerial fireworks display. Highlight of the evening for Ferrin is the performance of the song, ?Hero for a Day.? ?It talks about people who have given their lives,? he said. ?During that song about 12 different scenes fill the stage ? signing of the Declaration of Independence, Spirit of ?76, Civil War, Vietnam, Iwo Jima and 9/11.? The annual extravaganza is the result of nearly 10 months of planning and the work of more than 400 volunteers from the Rocklin church. While Ferrin says that directing the show is his favorite thing to do, he knows he has a strong partner in his wife, who serves as producer. ?My wife is an incredible asset to what we?re doing. I couldn?t do it without her,? he said. And he is thankful for the talent that abounds at Destiny Christian Church. ?God has blessed me with great people in the church. It?s the kind of show whole families can be involved in,? he said. ?There are families where mom will sing in the choir; the husband is in the tech crew and the children are in the cast. It?s a whole family experience.? He?s also thankful for the church?s financial backing of the production. ?In Rocklin, there is just such an appreciation of what men and women have done for the military,? he said. ?We realize we wouldn?t be here without them. This is our way of thanking them.? For more information, visit celebrateamericaonline.com ________ know &go Celebrate America When: 4:30 p.m., Saturday, June 30 and Sunday, July 1 Where: Twin Oaks Park, 5500 Park Ave. Admission free