Hundreds of youth to attend Rally in the Valley
Rally in the Valley will be held Sept. 18 at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Richland Township (Submitted photo)
An estimated 700 teenagers and young adults are expected to dance the day away to the up-and-coming alternative Christian rock band Me in Motion at the annual Rally in the Valley from 2 to 5 p.m. Sept. 18 at Emmanuel Baptist Church, 425 Luther Road in Richland Township.
"It's a chance for kids to chill out, listen to Christian music and show there's a good life out there," said Keith Rager, administrative board president at First United Methodist Church in South Fork, whose members are helping to organize the concert.
Now in its fourth year, Rally in the Valley is free. Along with Me in Motion and the Emmanuel Baptist Praise Band, the youth will be treated to food and words of wisdom from keynote speaker Joshua Smith from Life Church in Windber.
"It's really relaxed and an atmosphere where people are just having fun," said Steve Vickroy, junior high youth director at Emmanuel Baptist.
Two singles by Me in Motion have climbed the Christian charts in the past two years: "Losers" and "God I Know." The Nashville, Tenn. band has toured with Newsboys, Sanctus Real, Red, Fireflight and Pillar.
Among the churches participating in Rally in the Valley -- and youth from throughout the region are welcome -- are First United Methodist in South Fork, Emmanuel Baptist, Oakland United Methodist, Greater Johnstown Christian Fellowship, Life Church, Elton Zion United Methodist, Summit Chapel, Beulah United Methodist, Locust Grove, Windber Calvary United Methodist, Mt. Olive, Mt. Hope, Westmont Baptist, Scalp Level United Methodist, Salix Bethel United Methodist and Hilltop Baptist.
Students from University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, St. Francis University, North Star Youth Outreach, Young Life and Athletes in Action also will participate, organizers said.
"We all want to keep it free so we can get as many kids as possible," said Matt Truscott, who along with his brother, Matt, serves as youth coordinator at First United Methodist.
When Rally in the Valley began four years ago, it was held at Ehrenfeld Field before a crowd of about 150. A potato hauler was used as the stage, Rager said.
The event moved to Emmanuel Baptist last year. "Once we started getting into national bands, they have requirements form the electrical system," Rager said. "Emmanuel Baptist has a state-of-the-art sound system."
As Rally in the Valley continues to grow, Rager said it may soon be time for another move.
"Last year was a super response," he said. "We decided to hold it one more year at Emmanuel. We may have to move it somewhere in Johnstown -- maybe the War Memorial."