Ripon Immanuel Church, 401 W. Fond du Lac St., hosted nearly 20 students for a three-week long School of Rock Youth Praise Band Camp.

The goal of the youth camp was to know, grow and show the love of God to youth through praise music. This year’s theme was “One Purpose…One God.”

The camp met for two hours a day for three days a week. Each day, the students worked on music, participated in devotional time and spent time with new friends.

The camp concluded with a free concert last week Wednesday at Ripon Immanuel Church with nearly 175 people in attendance.

Following the concert, the youth celebrated with the audience at an ice cream social at the church.

The youth praise band was composed of students in grades 6 to 12 and came from several area churches.

The concert was directed by Christina Muenchow who said, “It has been a blast working with these students. They were given some big songs to learn and all rose to the occasion"

He added: "Something you may not know, almost all of the students have never played the instrument that they are playing during the concert before they joined us three weeks ago.”

Students were given the opportunity to learn new instruments, learn the technical aspect of putting on a concert by working with the tech crew or could sing the vocals.

There were nearly as many adult volunteers helping the students as there were students, providing coaching in all aspects of the performance or even providing snacks.

The adults involved were: Chad Liptow (vocal coach, devotionals, introductions), Jill Liptow (sound crew coach, slides, videos, camera), Tami Conlon (administrative secretary, advertising, T-shirt designs), Pat Conlon (bass coach), Evan Conlon (percussion coach, sound crew), Sandy Polcyn (percussion coach, saxophone coach, instrumental coach), Pam Fagerberg (piano coach), Karen Wisehart (dance coach), Kenton Baker (vocal coach), Nancy Himebaugh, Joyce Jorgenson, Kim Morgan, and Chris Worall (snacks), Zach Abraham and Russ Skurr (sound/video during performance), the Rev. Harsha Kotian (spiritual leader), Al Muenchow (instrumental director) and Christina Muenchow (director).

This was the first year of this youth praise band camp hosted by Ripon Immanuel Church, so there were many unknowns going into this project.

“My hope for this project was to bring more students into church with a purpose; a purpose to begin to have a relationship with God,” Christina Muenchow said. “We need our youth to spread the gospel, to bring the church back to life in this community.

"We are so grateful to all the students that joined us these past few weeks. We hope that this is just the beginning of youth, music and worship. Most of the students belong to a church in town or in this area."

"It would be so exciting to see a youth praise band rise up at their church. Perhaps adding youth to the services, we can bring younger families to church again. There are so many people to thank. I am so grateful that so many people were excited for this project. To the people at Immanuel Church, thank you," she added. “To area churches who sent kids to us, thank you. To my music colleagues at the Ripon School District, thank you. To the praise band here at Ripon Immanuel, thank you. To my friends in the community, thank you. To my family, thank you.”

For those interested in viewing the concert, the recording is at www.youtube.com/watch?v=73H0rDeSPYs.

Ripon Immanuel Church already is looking ahead to next year and planning the 2022 School of Rock Youth Praise Band for the last three weeks in June.

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