Spring Valley Baptist making music in community

04/17/2010 12:00 AM

04/16/2010 11:32 PM

Emily McCollum will be settling in with her guitar and favorite songs Sunday evening to serenade patrons at CiCi's Pizza Buffet at the Village at Sandhills shopping center.

On Tuesday, Ashley Fleshman will be blowing his trombone at Books-A-Million.

The two are among a handful of musicians from Spring Valley Baptist Church who are taking the congregation to the community this week through a series of mini-concerts.

"We decided that we wanted to connect with community more through our music ministry," said the Rev. Rick McCollum, the church's minister of music and worship.

McCollum persuaded his daughter, Emily, and the other musicians to connect in a new outreach called Xpress Faith Columbia. It's the brainchild of McCollum and culminates with three concerts this weekend by Christian artist Laura Story, native of South Carolina and three-time Dove Award winner. The free concerts are Friday, April 24 and April 25..

Fleshman plans to pull out jazz standards such as "It Might As Well Be Spring" and the famous bossa nova tune "The Girl from Ipanema" when he plays his two-hour gig, from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday at the Books-A-Million at Sandhills.

"I think that is what it is all about, another way of getting people to come to church," said Fleshman, a member of Spring Valley's choir and orchestra.

He doesn't plan to evangelize, but simply provide a musical glimpse of the spirit of the Polo Road congregation.

"I'm really not going to say anything -I'm just kind of a replacement for the Muzak," he laughed. "If people ask what in the world is going on, we will talk about the Xpress Faith weekend."

Fleshman has been playing the trombone for 50 years, since he was in seventh grade, but even he acknowledges that a two-hour gig can wear out the lips.

So he has asked Gloria Wright, Spring Valley's pianist, to play and accompany him for part of that time.

On Monday, Wright will do a turn at tickling the ivories from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. for customers at Desserts & More, in the Rice Creek Shopping Center on Hardscrabble Road.

The Spring Valley Rotary Club will hear Hampton Cobb play his trumpet Thursday at its regular meeting.

And spectators at the Sparkleberry Country Fair will get a chance to hear vocalist Shannon Scruggs Saturday. McCollum hopes the mini-community concerts will help spread the word about the upcoming Story concerts and Xpress Faith weekend.

Laura Story, a native of Spartanburg and 2003 graduate of Columbia International University, won the prestigious Dove Award in 2009 for Inspirational Album of the Year.

Story wrote the hit song, "Indescribable," which has been recorded by many artists, including Christian singer Chris Tomlin. She'll share her faith story during the weekend events.

As part of Xpress Faith Columbia, the Spring Valley congregation has been learning how to craft their own spiritual testimonies, McCollum said.

"We are providing training sessions for a couple of weeks with how to connect with the community in simple conversation about spiritual matters," he said.

But for now, music is the conduit to share Spring Valley's Christian faith, said Fleshman.

"Come on to the concert and if you like the people and they are friendly, this might be a place for you."

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