Sunday, June 30, 2002

Kidz Gig excites with song and dance

By Erica Solvig
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Nearly 13,000 people — most of them young children toting balloons, dancing in their seats and singing along to Christian music — brightened Paul Brown Stadium on Saturday morning.

"Psalty" and friends perform at Kidz Gig.
(Jeff Swinger photo)
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        Kidz Gig was the first of two youth events in the third day of the Greater Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky Billy Graham Mission.

        The nearly two-hour celebration was aimed at children in elementary school and younger.

        “I'm excited about seeing a whole lot of children because they know Jesus and they came here for Jesus,” said 7-year-old Jessika Anderson from Dayton, Ohio.

        Parents and their children began arriving just before 9:30 a.m. At 10:30 a.m., Psalty the Singing Songbook, whose name plays off the Old Testament book of Psalms, and a 60-person cast of Tristate children younger than 12 took the stage.

Curt Van Valkenburgh of Milford dances with his son Matthew, 1.
(Jeff Swinger photo)
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        Their songs encouraged plenty of audience interaction, including bouncing around about 50 large beach balls.

        Even babies, such as 1-year-old Matthew VanValkenburgh of Milford, were dancing in their seats.

        “It gets people all together so you know you're not alone in your faith,” Matthew's mother Christie said. “It makes you proud to be a Christian.”

        The service was boosted by a 2,000-person youth choir. Dressed in yellow T-shirts, the volunteers from about 100 area churches performed songs and dances from the stadium seats.

Kidz Gig performers send their message.
(Jeff Swinger photo)
| ZOOM |
        The Rev. Mr. Graham did not preach at the event, but did deliver a sermon at the evening's Concert for the NeXt Generation.

        For some, curiosity spurred their attendance.

        “We're not familiar with the whole Kidz Gig thing,” said Linda Huddleston of Hebron, Ky. She brought her two youngest children, son, Jonathan, 5, and daughter Charli, 8.

        “But we just wanted the children's point of view about Christ.”


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