"This year we have a large, high-peaked tent big enough to have the stage and the audience under," said founder/organizer Chris Moore.
It should improve conditions from last year's sun-scorching heat that left both the artists and audience uncomfortably warm.
The Sat. Aug. 6 event, featuring several area Christian music artists and ensembles, will once again be held outside of Family of Christ Church on Henze St. NW in Comstock Park – just west of the Alpine Ave. Walmart store.
The gathering's dramatic backdrop is a 20 foot high cross set up on the church grounds.
"The goal is still to showcase area Christian musicians, and regardless of church denomination to be together celebrating and worshipping the Lord," said Moore, himself a church worship leader.
A VARIED LINE-UP
Among those returning to the stage this year is Orlando Rodriguez, the area urban contemporary artist whose new CD is titled "Turn the World Off." "He really has something for everyone," Moore commented.
Another hold-over from last year is a music group from Alpha & Omega Ministries in Grand Rapids, with a contemporary black gospel sound.
Ty Gonzalez ("Gonz") once again brings the strains of Christian rap to the event stage, and Carpenter's Cross, the classic rock and jazz band, also returns.
New "At The Foot of the Cross" this year are the sister duo of Seneca and Fallon Powers, veteran singer Marty Miller (who performs at numerous area churches), and the family group Butler from the Hastings area.
"I like to have some artists return each year but also like to bring in new ones and rotate them through," Moore added. "And I'd like to hear from people now who would be interested in performing next year."
A BIGGER CHALLENGE
Moore began "At the Foot of the Cross" in 2013 at his home church, piecing together his own funds and some outside help to meet expenses. Last year he moved the event to Comstock Park, to be nearer a larger population area. He set up a go-fund-me page to ask for donations before the event. He's done that again in 2016.
"This year I'm crazy enough to take on two events," Moore smiled.
That other event is coming up on Sunday afternoon Sept. 11, back at his home church, Easton United Methodist on Potters Rd. near Ionia. It's also titled "At The Foot of the Cross." It features some of the same musicians, but the significance of the date (anniversary of the 9-11-2001 attacks), brings several other dimensions.
"We'll be offering a tribute to veterans and first-responders," said Moore, who has plans for area public safety department representation as well as visitors from several veterans groups with a color guard and 21-gun salute.
An Ionia gospel bluegrass band has been added to the bill for that event. (For more info visit https://www.facebook.com/events/283088498696916/)
Meanwhile, Moore is preparing for the Aug. 6 Comstock Park date hoping for good weather at the foot of the giant cross but also with the "covering" of the huge circus-style tent.
"We have had meetings each year to see what we could improve upon, and we thought about getting a tent for people to be out of the hot sun," said Moore who notes that the funds for the rented structure were donated.
"There are no honorariums for the artists, this is all volunteer," he said. "This is all about coming together to celebrate what we have in common."
Just the Details:
The Fourth Annual "At The Foot of the Cross" – A day-long Christian music event featuring a variety of Christian music artists and worship bands
Noon to 6 p.m. Sat. Aug. 6, Family of Christ Church, 1100 Henze Dr. NW (west of Alpine Ave.), Comstock Park
On the schedule: Carpenter's Cross, Butler, Orlando Rodriguez, Gonz (Ty Gonzalez), Alpha & Omega Ministries, Marty Miller, Seneca and Fallon Powers
Suggestions: Bring your own seating, etc. Food available on site.
Admission: Free, but donations accepted on site. Proceeds benefit the Healing Eyes organization.
For more information, https://www.facebook.com/events/399051743633326/. Church phone (616) 784-3550.