Celebrating faith, family

Believers ‘unite together for good’

Christians will celebrate their faith with a time of music, games and food next weekend.

Known as Tyrone Christian Family Faith Day, the seventh annual event will be held from 9 a.m to 4 p.m. Aug. 17 and will conclude with a worship and praise service at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 18 at Tyrone Alliance Church.

What started off as a small program has become a well-attended occasion.

“It has grown by leaps and bounds,” said Sue Griep, event chairman. “To look at the streets filled with people gathering together in His (Jesus’) name warms our hearts. We are so proud of our small town hosting such a special event that brings our community and churches together.”

Joining the celebration will be musical artists with local ties as well as national and international followings.

Chiz Rider, a trumpeter, will take to the Rev. Norman Huff Christian Music Stage at noon. His performance will be followed by vocalist Julie Nevel at 1:15 p.m. Both artists tour throughout the year and grew up in Altoona.

Rider of State College said he has lots of selections in his repertoire and usually plays Big Band or contemporary jazz style on his horn, depending on the audience. An older crowd may hear more traditional music while a younger crowd may end up listening to a more contemporary style. Between songs, he often shares a testimony or jokes with the audience. He also entertains listeners by using a custom mouthpiece that allows him to play two horns at once.

Having played the trumpet since he was 4, Rider gave his first public performance at age 7 at Altoona Bible Church. He now gives 270 to 285 concerts a year and has performed in Africa, Mexico, Malaysia and Singapore. Rider said one of the benefits of being an instrumentalist is that he does not need an interpreter during his performances in foreign countries because the music speaks to the people. He said his purpose is to share God’s love with his talent.

This will be his first Faith Day performance. Rider, who has been performing for more than 37 years, said he enjoys giving a concert close to home.

“I get to see all the familiar faces and those who have shown love and support for our ministry for so long,” he said.

Nevel, who lives in Harrisburg, agreed that a concert in one’s home area is special.

“It’s nice to come back to see friends and family,” said Nevel, who has traveled to the state of Indiana, Colorado and throughout Pennsylvania this summer. In the past, she has traveled to several countries including Scotland, Australia and Jamaica.

A songwriter as well as an artist, Nevel plans to sing selections from her latest album, “Front Row.”

The cover song is in honor of her late grandmother.

“She always cheered me on,” Nevel said. “She was always in my front row. In the same way, the Lord is with us. He is always cheering us on.”

Nevel said she sometimes shares the story behind the songs in her concerts. For instance, two other songs from that project are “My Miracle,” about her sister Gail who lost a battle to cancer, and “Long Line in Heaven,” about her late friend and mentor June Rossman. Nevel said it means there will be a lot of people in heaven because Rossman shared God’s message of love with them.

She is also expected to sing one of her most popular songs, “Asbury Lane.” It is about the farm where she grew up in Antis Township and is also the title for her novel, “Asbury Lane, An American Love Story.” It is based on the romance, marriage and family life of Julie’s parents, who still live on the farm.

Nevel said she will talk about the book and have copies available to purchase at the event. It is her second appearance at Faith Day, and she is back by popular demand, according to Griep.

Other performers taking to the stage will be the praise band from Grace Baptist Church, Anthony Frazier and Signs of Faith.

The event is sponsored by Tyrone Events and Promotions with its president, Diane Irwin, to present Tyrone’s Hometown Hero Award at 11:45 a.m. Working to make the event fun and entertaining is the Tyrone Area Cooperative Ministries, with its churches planning and conducting the activities.

Aaron Jeffery, lead pastor of Grace Baptist Church, said the cooperation among the TACM churches is phenomenal and Faith Day is a way for the churches to extend their love to the community.

Among Grace Baptist’s contributions will be free cotton candy, popcorn and a bounce house for kids. A representative from the church will be among the pastors offering meditations between music sets. Micah Laremore, youth and family pastor, will facilitate the cornhole tournament.

English Lutheran Church and Thrivent Financial will host the scavenger hunt for the fifth year and other churches will man food and craft booths as well as offer other activities. Northern Blair County Recreation Center will offer sports stations for kids. The day also includes a basket raffle, a T-shirt coloring booth and movie night featuring, “How to Train Your Dragon, The Hidden World.”

Bill Ewing, pastor of Calvary Tyrone, will give the closing message on Aug. 18. He said seeing the churches working together as one Church is uplifting and encouraging.

“(Through Faith Day), we hope we are helping people strengthen their faith and are showing that a community of believers can unite together for good,” Griep said.