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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Block rocked, spirits fed

  • The Harrisburg First General Baptist church hosted the Rock the Block community party — an event of free food, drinks and a variety of live gospel entertainment — Saturday at Taylor Field in Harrisburg.
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  • The Harrisburg First General Baptist church hosted the Rock the Block community party — an event of free food, drinks and a variety of live gospel entertainment — Saturday at Taylor Field in Harrisburg.
    “We held this party as a way to give to the community. A way to feed the body and feed the spirit,” said Jerry Alexander, co-pastor of the First General Baptist Church.
    Alexander and Russel Powell are the pastors at First General and were affiliated with the Little Chapel Baptist Church for a number of years.
    “We felt the First General needed help, needed to be built up. So we came to help the church. Our goal is to build up the body of the church, to raise up leaders and to reach out to the community,” Alexander said.
    Originally scheduled as a youth group event, Alexander said after scheduling the gospel group the church began thinking about expanding the event into a block party type mini-festival.
    “We decided to add three more local bands and once we opened the event up, a lot of people wanted to get involved. So we made it a community event,” Alexander said.
    Alexander stated that the church tried to schedule a variety of bands to appeal to a large audience. Appearing were groups that ranged from contemporary christian rock through southern gospel to blue grass gospel music. The groups that performed Saturday were “Never too Late,” “Brittany Loyd,” “33 A.D” and the featured group “Red Roots.”
    Beginning at 3 p.m, live music, free food and drink, balloon hats for all and fellowship filled the atmosphere at the 2014 Rock the Block festival. Crowds gathered to enjoy the pleasant weather, good music, good food and good company.
    By mid afternoon, nearly 200 people had gathered, happily munching on an unlimited supply of hot dogs, hamburgers and freeze pops, quenching their thirst on sodas and bottles of water and enjoying some of the best gospel groups in the area.
    At 6:30 p.m. “Red Roots” took the stage and treated the crowd to their brand of bluegrass gospel. Red Roots is a trio of identical triplets with flaming red hair. Beginning their set with their song “Straight Shooter” the group thrilled the audience with their sassy yet soulful music. As the group was being introduced, Pastor Russell Powell and his son Jonathan took the microphone and Powell told the crowd how his son had come to him last year and said, “Dad, I have a video I would like you to watch.” This was a Red Roots video and the pastor, upon liking the groups sound, began thinking about finding a way for the group to perform for the church. And so, it was from Jonathan's interest in gospel music that the idea for the Rock the Block party was born.
    Page 2 of 2 - As the afternoon drew to a close, and the fellowship, fun, music and food of the event had indeed, “Fed the body and fed the spirit,” the crowds began to go home, entertained and enriched by the experience of the 2014 Rock the Block party.
    Pastors Alexander and Powell wanted to express the grateful appreciation to the people and organization that had helped helped make the event a success. In particular the First Baptist Church wanted to thank, Harrisburg High School, Rolling Rivers Band, Beardsley Disposal, Harrisburg Lions Club and WEBQ, WBVN and WXAN radio stations for their generous help.
     

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