On September 24th and 25th, Temecula audiences were blessed to enjoy some of the finest gospel performances in California and raise funds for the arts program at Oak Grove Center for Education, Treatment & the Arts. Three concerts over 2 days provided lively entertainment and a spirit-filled message to attendees at the Old Town Temecula Community Theater.
Each concert was a separate themed event featuring different performances: Spirit of the Valley, Choir Sound-Off, and A Glorious Gospel Grand Finale. I attended the Saturday afternoon Choir Sound-Off and was quite impressed and moved by the performances I saw.
The show was professionally produced with Pastor C. Lamont Leonard as a rousing master of ceremonies. To my new-to-gospel-music ears the afternoon seemed like a cross between Glee and America’s Got Talent, although organizers were quick to point out that this was not a competition, but a heartfelt “sound-off.”
Unique highlights included a mime choreographed and performed by Taryn Crawford and a mesmerizing black light personal testimony from Witness, a group of talented young people from Fallbrook Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Yes, there was also lots of outstanding singing. I could almost picture three judges lighting up the scoreboards and sending young gutsy powerhouse singer, Robynne French, on to the next round. What a voice! She is certainly an inspiration and one to watch.
Students from Oak Grove also performed and cheered on from the audience, appreciating the support Gospelfest gives their center. The mission of Oak Grove is: to rebuild the lives of at-risk children and their families through educating, healing, restoring relationships, building character and instilling hope. Gospelfest beautifully supported this mission on all counts.