(Reposted from the Wichita Falls Times Record News)
Methodist clergy band to perform Friday at church
Johnson/Times Record News
February 18, 2008
do your get when you give several United Methodist clergy a
guitar, a song book and few hours of volunteer
You get some great ‘70s music.
United Methodist clergy who make up the band Connections
perform a recent concert.
Folkerth, Paul Escamilla, Ann Willet, Frank Rahm, Rusty
King, Kevin Holland and John Fleming have joined together
with additional musicians to create the band “Connections.”
The band will be in Wichita Falls Friday for a 7 p.m.
concert at Trinity United Methodist
“The band started at a clergy retreat five or six years
ago,” Rusty King, minister of music at Spring Valley United
Methodist Church, said. “We gave our first performance on
March 31, 2006. It was a Dan Fogelberg tribute. The video
from the concert on YouTube has been viewed more than
Everyone in the band shares the love of ministry as well as
the love of music.
“The band was formed out of several informal
get-togethers,” Fleming, vocalist for the band, said. “We
all had been bringing our guitars to retreats for years and
It’s not hymns and praise and worship you’ll hear at a
Connections concert, but instead sets of soft rock from
bands like Chicago and the Eagles. For the Wichita Falls
concert, the band will play one set from Chicago, featuring
songs like “Make Me Smile” and “Saturday in the Park,” and
one set from the Eagles, with hits like “Desperado” and
Although audiences hear only secular music, there is always
an underlying theme to each concert.
“We do it for fun, but with the idea that it is a mission
of the church,” Fleming, who was formerly the senior pastor
of First United Methodist of Henrietta, said. “The band
members who do the introductions for each song try to tie
them into faith themes.”
all-volunteer band charges no admission fees for the shows,
but an offering is collected that goes to the United
Methodist Committee on Relief.
“UMCOR does mostly disaster relief, and people were on the
ground in Central Texas for the floods, the coast for
Katrina and internationally for the tsunami,” Fleming
Connections has performed at several large churches in the
Dallas area, where most of the members live, along with the
annual clergy retreat at Lake Texoma. Along with Chicago
and the Eagles, the band pays tribute to James Taylor and
Carole King. To date, more than $20,000 has been raised
through the concerts.
“I look at it as raising money is only a side benefit of
this band,” Fleming said. “The real opportunity is to get
people familiar with the church through secular
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