Over the past decade, local residents and their friends and families have been privileged to celebrate independence with the annual God and Country Celebration.
A bi-partisan, non-political community-wide celebration of Christian patriotism and religious liberty, God and Country Celebration X will be presented on Friday, July 1 in the Minden Civic Center.
The concert of stirring patriotic music honoring U.S. military servicemen and women, both active and inactive, features the Minden Community Chorus with full orchestra and soloists under the direction of Dr. Dan Gibbs and accompanist Claudia Gibson.
The 10th anniversary all-new edition of the annual event begins with an indoor picnic and table decorations contest at 6 p.m., followed by the patriotic concert at 7 p.m.
"The two-part concert will consist of the musicals 'The Spirit of America' and 'God Bless the USA' created by the team of Sue Smith, Joel Lindsey and Russell Mauldin, as well as two additional musical recognitions: our military who have given the ultimate sacrifice in the service of our country, and the community of faith which is the city of Minden," Gibbs said.
Shreveport Radio/TV personality Melinda Coyer, who appeared with the Chorus as emcee/deejay for their recent "Back to the Fifties" event at the Scottish Rite Cathedral, returns as hostess/emcee and narrator for this year's celebration.
The Prayer for America, which concludes the program, will be offered by State Senator Robert Adley.
Gibbs said there will be two separate recognitions for the military.
"We are honoring active military with presentations of service flags and branch theme songs in Part One, and retired veterans with the song 'While There's Time' in Part Three of the program," he said. "Special badges or ribbons identifying each veteran will be placed on them by a hostess at the doors as they enter the hall for the program, and then at a time announced by the emcee, folks in the audience will be asked to greet and personally thank those veterans around them in the, while representative vets named in the program will also be thanked onstage."
Gibbs said there will be a special DVD presentation in the In Memoriam section of the program (Part Two).
"During this solemn presentation, the doors to the hall will be closed and attendees will be asked to remain in the hall until the commemoration is concluded," he said.
"Funding for this always-ambitious event is provided in several ways," Gibbs said.
n The advance reservation of $150 tables for the indoor picnic and table decorations contest for which patrons provide their own picnic meal and table decorations;
n The advance reservation of $500 Patriots' Club tables for which a meal catered by Upper Crust Catering and table decorations are provided; and
n For the first time this year, individual non-reserved, non-meal tickets in advance or at the door. Advance tickets are $10 each for ages 12 and up, $5 for ages 6-12 and free for children under 6. At the door, tickets are $12 for ages 12 and up, $7 for ages 6-12, and free for children under 6.
Categories in the table decorations contest include Most All-American, Most Patriotic, Most Historical, Most Elegant, Most Whimsical, Most "Minden" and The Judges' Choice Award.
Prize gift baskets will be presented to winners in each of the categories as judged by a committee of local artists.
More information may be found at www.mindencommunitychorus.com.