SPRING HILL — Bands and performers from several local churches will take the stage Saturday evening for what is being billed as "An Evening of Joyful Music."
The Spring Hill Community Association and Quality Guitars have joined forces to present the event, which is part of the St. Petersburg Times 2008 Concert Series. It will take place at the Palmwood Pavilion, on the grounds of the Lake House, overlooking Hunter's Lake.
It is free and open to the public, though organizers are hoping people who attend will donate nonperishable food items that can be used to restock local food pantries. There is a $1 parking charge that will go to the sheriff's youth Explorers.
"We've never done anything like this before, but we thought it would be a neat thing for the community," said Maria Kras, owner of Quality Guitars in Spring Hill. "This is a great opportunity for all the Christian churches to come together for an evening of sharing music that glorifies the Lord.
"Each church has its own ministries that usually benefit the elderly or their youth. It requires funds to do things for them. We thought if we have all these bands playing, that it would allow churches to sell things so that they can raise money for their different ministries."
Bands performing at the concert will be Abel's Sacrifice, from Calvary Chapel in Brooksville; Belly of the Whale, from Hope Community Bible Church; Potters Clay, from Holy Cross Lutheran Church; and Xerocks, representing several churches from Pasco County.
Also performing will be Beth el Shalom Singers and Praise Dancers, a Messianic group from New Port Richey; St. Andrew's Music Ministers, from St. Andrew's Episcopal Church; and Robert Barnes, pastor of Dayspring Church, who will sing and accompany himself on the guitar.
Churches will have information booths with literature available about their beliefs, and items for sale to raise money for their ministries. Other vendors will offer food, crafts and baked goods.
The Kiwanis Club will sell hamburgers and hot dogs for the benefit of the organizations they support, and an Avon booth will offer products and religious items. There will be a free drawing for a basket from the Joy FM radio station, and the bloodmobile from LifeSouth Community Blood Center will be on site until 8 p.m.
"People can come and set up their chairs, sit down and listen to the music, or visit the vendors," Kras said. "It's going to be continuous music for four hours, maybe longer. People can just come and not spend any money if they want."
Kras said nonperishable food is being collected because most of the churches have food pantries.
"Right now, with the economy the way it is, a lot of them have a larger need than they have the food to fill the need," she said.
Kras said the event also allows the bands to make themselves known to the community.
"They're not being paid a cent to perform. In fact, it's costing them money in gas, equipment and time, so the bands are really putting their hearts and souls into this," she said.
It will also introduce people to the Palmwood Pavilion venue.
"A lot of people don't know about the Spring Hill Community Association and the benefits of the Lake House as well as the pavilion," she said. "It would be nice for shows to be performed here in Spring Hill so people won't have to go all the way to Brooksville, especially now with gas the way it is."
Kras said she and her husband, Randy, hope it will be a good time of fellowship.
"A lot of people don't know Christ, and they're uncomfortable in a church setting. Here it's strictly music and nothing else. The music will tell the story. It will be a time of fellowship for Christians and non-Christians alike."