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13th annual Christian concert will rock out in downtown Charles City this weekend

  • Bill Kristijanto of Bread of Stone jams with the audience at a previous Encouragement Corp. christian rock concert in Charles City. Photo submitted

  • Bread of Stone rocks the crowd at the Encouragement Corp. free christian rock concert in Charles City. Photo submitted

By Kelly Terpstra, kterpstra@charlescitypress.com

People will come, oh, they will come.

They’ll travel to Charles City, some driving many hours and across state lines to take part in Dave Holschlag’s idea that sprouted to life 14 years ago.

Holschag’s brainchild – a free Christian rock concert held at Central Park in Charles City – is now in it’s 13th year of hosting popular Christian bands from all across the United States.

“One year we looked through the parking lots and we saw cars from five different states at this,” Holschlag said.

As many as 4,000 people have attended the concert put on by Encouragement Corp., a non-profit organization formed by Holschlag and Gary Quint. The annual concert now averages a crowd that ranges anywhere from 1,500-2,000 people who show up to jam to the music and worship through song and dance.

“This is God’s concert, not mine,” Holschlag said.

This year’s concert starts at 7 p.m. Saturday and features headlining act Unspoken, a band that has produced many Top 5 singles on the Billboard Christian charts, including the No. 1 single “Start a Fire.”

Bread of Stone, a crowd-pleasing fan favorite at the Charles City concert that hails from Sioux City, will return to open the show.

“When they come off stage, their shirts are wringing wet with sweat. They work all day long setting this show up,” said Holschlag. “We’ve had main headliners say, ‘How we supposed to follow a show like that,’ because they have that high energy and they do that good of a job.”

Holschlag said a band from southern Minnesota, Wonderstate, will begin performing at 6:30 p.m. before BOS takes the stage. Unspoken is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m.

Holschlag said although the theme is Christian, the focus is music.

“We ask the bands to keep this a concert. We want to hear mostly music with a short testimony,” he said. “Each band has a different story and that’s what’s really fun for us is to hear what is their story and why are they doing this.”

First Baptist Church and St. John Lutheran Church in Charles City will be serving food at their stands to raise money for various projects within their congregations. Holschlag picks a different priest or pastor at various churches in the area to open up the concert with prayer.

Holschlag said he wasn’t sure what to expect when he first organized the concert almost 15 years ago.

“I had no idea how many people would come. It’s been very positive,” he said.

Money raised from individuals and area businesses, as well as volunteers donating their time, make the concert possible. Volunteers run merchandise tables and help with the tear-down of the event.

“I’m usually done at 1 or 2 o’clock in the morning,” said Holschlag.

Holschlag said Cedar River Pizza provides the food to feed volunteers and those who have helped out after all the hard work in putting on the concert is finished.

“It’s just an army full of people over the years that have really helped make this all happen,” he said. “We are very thankful to all the people who have donated over the years.”

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