The church's 57-voice Praise Choir, under the leadership of Minister of Music Jeffrey McGee, will perform the musical "Liberty," written by Don Wyrtzen, which is chock full of patriotic themes, historic folk music, and a dramatic presentation celebrating our American heritage.
A group of children will add a dramatic flair to the folk songs: a cowboy doing "Home on the Range," a Confederate soldier and a Southern belle during "Dixie," a railroad worker with a sledge hammer during "I've Been Working on the Railroad," a banjo and fiddle player during "O, Susannah," and Huck Finn during "Shenandoah."
"The program is 20 years old," McGee said. "But its message for America is timeless. It's different from anything we've ever done. It's historical with a lot of familiar tunes and folk songs. One of the most moving parts of the musical is where we honor the military, and we will be playing the songs from each branch of the service and have veterans and active military members in the audience to stand. The program is all patriotic and historical."
This year's musical is being presented in memory of the late Chief Petty Officer E-7 Carl Avery Smith, U.S. Navy. Smith had presented the American flag at the last five Independence Day celebrations. Last year, even though he was suffering from cancer, Smith was honored to carry the flag. This year, former U.S. Marine David Orr will present the American flag.
The flags from the various branches of the military will be presented by church members who are veterans. Gene Watkins will present the Navy flag, Wayne Miller the Army flag, L.D. Mangrum the Coast Guard flag, Jerry Taylor the Air Force flag and David Lamb the Marine flag.
"There will be a tribute to the American flag as a part of the program," McGee said. "And four people will share testimonies on why they say the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag. That should be moving. There will also be a parade of states with the children of the church carrying those flags. And we will have a large parade of American flags at the end.
"We also plan on having a wonderful grand finale, but I won't give that away. People need to come out and enjoy the celebration. It makes your heart swell with pride when you hear this music."