BROOKSVILLE — The Brooksville Common will be filled with the sound of gospel music this evening.
The launch of "First Fridays," a free musical entertainment event that will be hosted by the Rev. Dell O. Barnes Sr. at the pavilion each month, will begin at 6 p.m.
"There are so many talented people within the churches here in Hernando County from different races, different creeds, different backgrounds. We just want to bring all of this out to the community," said Barnes, the pastor of Courts of Praise Deliverance Ministries of Brooksville.
Fuzed Elements will be the featured band this month. Barnes plays the saxophone with the group. Lloyd Thompson plays bass, Carlton Grant is the drummer and Darnell Crandle is the musical director and keyboard player.
Melinda Crandle, founder of Stir Up the Gift Talent Organization, will be among those performing as part of the Stir Up the Gift Community Choir, which will have several directors and accompanists. She may perform as a soloist at future events and will help find the talent each month.
She's excited about First Fridays.
"I think it's a wonderful opportunity for those that want to minister using their gifts or talents," Crandle said. "To provide that type of entertainment or ministry open to the public free of charge is awesome."
She also thinks the common setting is "perfect."
"You just feel the spirit of God around the whole place," she said.
Future events will include various talent, such as vocal and instrumental soloists and dancing.
"Each month, there will be a different theme," Barnes said. "Sometimes there will be liturgical dancing. There will be a time when we'll be doing 'Jazz Under the Stars.' Anybody with a God-given talent can contact me."
Young people love hip-hop," Barnes said.
"So one month we'll focus on gospel hip-hop. There's also gospel rap. That's another way to bring our young people in."
Businesses interested in sponsoring an event or representing their business at a concert should contact Barnes.
Barnes thought of the idea for First Fridays when he was on vacation with his family earlier this year.
"The thought popped into my mind first about doing a musical event for the community," he said. "With thinking of that and then thinking of the different churches within the county, all of a sudden First Fridays popped into my thoughts."
Barnes played God Bless America on his saxophone as part of the dedication ceremony for the Brooksville Common in May. When governing board member Dr. Gary Wilson called to thank him, Barnes shared his idea.
"He said 'Wow, Dell. That is something that the board is looking for.' So that's pretty much how it got started," Barnes said.
Wilson, a member of the original development committee for the common, is happy to see the pavilion being used for events like First Fridays.
"I'm pleased the common is already fulfilling its definition as a special parcel of land chosen for the purpose of serving and sharing the community's common interests," he said. "(It's) seen its first beautiful wedding ceremony and its first charitable fundraiser. Weekly prayer gatherings have started spontaneously, and many have placed touching prayer requests in the Prayer Corner prayer box. Now Pastor Barnes brings an added dimension — a monthly program featuring exciting local talent."
Barnes is grateful.
"I just want to thank the common trustees and board for allowing me the opportunity to do this," he said. "It's a great opportunity to bring the community together, especially in this forum."
Those attending are asked to bring lawn or folding chairs.
"Anyone any age should come," Barnes said. "Bring your family. Bring your chair. Enjoy the evening."