GENESEO — The Praise Band Jam is back this year to fill the air with music and amen's at Geneseo City Park Band Shell and Pavilion at 3 p.m. Sunday.
“The mission of the Praise Band Jam is to praise God in a loud and conspicuous way and to raise money to support local charities,” Glenn Kluge, founder of the festival, said.
Funds raised this year will go to New Life for Women, a faith-based program helping women in difficult circumstances. Through 2019, more than $22,000 has been raised and donated to community organizations.
It's a “wonderful opportunity to celebrate God’s love through music, and to demonstrate we are more alike than different,” said John Puentes, who attends St. Malachy’s Catholic Church in Geneseo and has long been a member of the organizing team of the Praise Band Jam.
The festival, which was not held last year because of the pandemic, will mark the eighth Praise Band Jam.
This year's event, though, will be smaller.
"Because of the shortened planning window, it was decided a smaller event consisting of five bands would be manageable and appropriate,” Kluge said. “No meal will be served this year. Pie and ice cream will be available for a free-will donation, and there will be a pie auction.”
The 2019 event had an estimated attendance of 700 and included performances by 10 bands.
The first gathering was organized by First United Methodist church in July 2013, and five groups and churches in the Geneseo community took turns hosting the event.
New Life for Women, in addition to being the beneficiaries of the fundraising, will contribute with their music.
Celia Rodriguez, director of New Life for Women, said she has a love for worship and would gather women to sing cover songs, sometimes performing at different churches.
“This past year God has brought extremely talented, musically inclined, broken women to 'The Farm',” Rodriguez said.
“Our pianist, Brooke, has a gift from God to compose and write music on the piano. Our lead vocalist, Melissa, has an amazing voice and helps to write lyrics. Keri is also an amazing singer, and I lead the rest of the women in background vocals.
"All our music is inspired by the Holy Spirit, and the lyrics are strictly Biblical-based testimonies that each and every woman here at The Farm can attest to because it has come to pass in our lives.”
Tim Brinkman, director of worship at Geneseo First United Methodist Church, was the person who approached New Life for Women to discuss their participation.
Brinkman said he appreciated the group's mission to help women and how they worship.
"These are women who take their faith seriously and live their lives in a way that makes that clear.”
The New Life for Women vocal ensemble recently participated in a First Methodist service, singing an original song. Brinkman said the sanctuary was filled with applause and calls of amen.
Kluge said Morgan Sarbar, director of music and worship at First Lutheran Church in Geneseo, joined the organizing effort in 2019 and quickly became an integral part of the team.
To earn his bachelor's degree in music business Sarbar studied planning, running and marketing events.
Puentes will once again be the stage manager for the Sunday event.
“Being involved with bands since high school and now running a music store has given me experience working with sound equipment," he said.
“The mission of the Praise Band Jam is to praise God in a loud and conspicuous way and to raise money to support local charities."
Glenn Kluge, founder of Praise Band Jam