Praise Band Jam September 12 in Geneseo

Claudia Loucks
Chris Barnhart of First Lutheran Church in Geneseo.
Tim Brinkman of First United Methodist in Geneseo.


Participating churches in the 2021 Praise Band Jam are Geneseo First United Methodist, St. Malachy's Catholic Church, First Lutheran Church, Geneseo Evangelical Free Church and Rock Thy Neighbor. Rock Thy Neighbor is a collaboration of musicians from participating churches.

Geneseo’s Praise Band Jam is back for 2021 and will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 12, at the Geneseo City Park Band Shell and Pavilion.

The event was not held last year due to the pandemic and this year will mark the eighth Praise Band Jam.

In previous years the event included up to 10 “bands,” but this year the “Jam” will feature five bands…”Given the necessities of a shortened planning window, it was decided a smaller event consisting of five bands would be manageable and appropriate,” according to Glenn Kluge, founder of Praise Band Jam. “No meal will be served this year. Pie and ice cream will be available for a free will donation and there will be a pie auction.”

The first was organized by First United Methodist church in July of 2013 with five groups and churches in the Geneseo community take turns hosting the event.

“The mission of the Praise Band Jam is to praise God in a loud and conspicuous way and to raise money to support local charities,” Kluge said.

Through 2019, more than $22,000 has been raised and donated to a variety of organizations helping the community. This year, the funds raised will be donated to New Life for Women.

In addition to being the beneficiaries of this year’s fundraising, they also will contribute with their music.

Celia Rodriguez, director of New Life for Women, said, “I have a love for worship, so when I became a leader, I would gather women and we would sing cover songs from other artists, mostly songs that we cold relate to. Every now and then I would gather them to sing those songs at different churches. The challenge is that our women graduate, and the groups change, so each group has had their own level of talent.”

“This past year God has brought extremely talented, musically inclined, broken women to The Farm,” Rodriguez said. “Our pianist, Brooke, has a gift from God to compose and write music on the piano. Our lead vocalist, Melissa, has an amazing voice and helps to write lyrics. Keri is also an amazing singer, and I lead the rest of the women in background vocals. All our music is inspired by the Holy Spirit and the lyrics are strictly Biblically-based testimonies that each and every woman here at The Farm can attest to because it has come to pass in our lives.”

Tim Brinkman, director of worship at Geneseo First United Methodist Church, was the person who approached New life for Women to discuss their participation in this year’s Praise Band Jam.

Brinkman said, “I appreciate New Life for Women so much, from their mission to help women in difficult circumstances to the way they bless us when they come to our church to worship. These are women who take their faith seriously and live their lives in a way that makes that clear. I’m proud that this year’s Praise Band Jam is supporting New Life for Women.”

The New Life for Women vocal ensemble recently participated in a First Methodist service, singing one of their original songs and Brinkman said at the end of the song, the sanctuary was filled with applause and calls of “Amen.”

John Puentes, who attends St. Malachy’s Catholic Church in Geneseo, has long been a member of the organizing team of the Praise Band Jam. He will once again be the stage manager.

“The Praise Band Jam is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate God’s love through music, and to demonstrate we are more alike than different,” Puentes said. “Being involved with bands since high school, and now running a music store, has given me experience working with sound equipment. But there is always something new to learn!”

Morgan Sarbar, director of music and worship at First Lutheran Church in Geneseo, became involved in the organizing effort of Praise Band Jam in 2019 and quickly became an integral part of the team, Kluge said.

“I have a Bachelor’s in Music business with an emphasis in Management and Marketing,” Sarbar said. “Through these courses I studied planning and running events as well as marketing them to the public.”

The 2019 Praise Band Jam had an estimated attendance of 700 and included performances by 10 bands, meal service, pies, pie auction, silent auction and face painting. The event was organized by a team from Geneseo’s Evangelical Free Church led by Kari Elmer. When Elmer was asked to describe how she managed to pull off such a successful event, she said, “It’s nothing I did specifically. I just know a lot of people. And God has blessed these people with gifts, and I asked them to use their gifts for His glory and they did. All glory to God. That’s really it.”