by Lola Rossi-Meza

ReachOut Ministries, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is proud to present their “Oldies For Jesus Concert” fund-raising event to add some “Hot Fun in the Summertime!” on Saturday, August 17, 2013 at 7 p.m. This second annual event will be held at the Spa Resort Hotel at the Canyon Center, 100 North Indian Canyon Drive in Palm Springs. Tickets are $8 in advance by calling (760) 567-3562 or $10 at the door.
The “Oldies For Jesus Concert” can be described as inspirational, but definitely not “preachy”. Members include: Loretta Ross; Ron Sherwin; Ken and Wanda Finley; Sherman and Deborah Hackett; Renaud “Tuffy”; and Martha Vann, who are all very talented vocalists. They perform “music with a message” through a fast-paced energetic show with costume changes and choreography. The show is great for the entire family and for those needing a little inspiration and laughter; in a lively, fun and relaxed environment. Attendees are invited to dress up in their favorite costumes from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s, and, if they choose to participate, enter the “Best Oldies Outfit Contest” during the event.
Other members of the ReachOut Ministries team have joined the project working behind the scenes, and are dedicated to its success. They help with the staging, coordination, costume changes and make sure the show runs as smoothly as possible. Jacobsway Productions, a sound and lighting team, handle the technical side of the show with ease.
The idea for the “Oldies for Jesus Concert” last year, was to be a fund-raising event for the upcoming 11th Annual “Jammin’ For Jesus” Music Fest scheduled for Saturday, January 18, 2014, from 1 until 8 p.m. The festival is held at the Cathedral City Town Square, 68-700 Avenida Lalo Guerrero in Cathedral City. Every year, there is continuous free live music; free food and soft drinks; free activities for the kids; and free prize give-aways; along with free resource information, literature, and services for the community.
Initially, some musically inclined friends were asked to come together for the project by one of the current “Oldies” group members. Their thinking was: “Hey, why not use what everyone loves doing, has already been doing separately, and do it for a good cause?” explains Martha Vann during her telephone interview. “They all agreed, and the ‘Oldies For Jesus Concert’ was born.” They all enjoy performing the music that brings back fond memories and makes people want to sing along and dance! “We did make a few minor changes to the lyrics, but not many, because all the songs in themselves are full of love, joy and happiness.”
In the beginning, a local pastor allowed the group to use the church venue, transforming it into a stage, complete with lighting, sound, and makeshift costume changing areas for one night. The performance was well received by the audience. “People really enjoyed the show and provided wonderful feedback.”
The “Oldies For Jesus Concert” continued, including performing songs for two memorial services; one for a group member’s mother, who never had the opportunity to see the show; and then one for another member’s father who passed away two months later. “He was their biggest fan and would dance in the aisle at every show.” They performed on New Year’s Eve at another friend’s church, where the church helped to sell tickets for the fund-raising event.
The group is involved in prison ministry, street outreach, rehabilitation centers, and community events. They have performed at other venues where the costume changes took place in the restroom. They also performed shows at a few prisons, where the inmates were invited to join in the singing by taking over the lead parts on some of the songs, while the group maintained the back up vocal parts. Not all of their performances brought in funds, however, what started out to be a way to support the “Jammin’ for Jesus” Music Fest, has become an entity in itself.
Mark your calendars and plan to attend a very uplifting and fun event for the entire family. See you there!