FAIRMONT – In April, Christian rock and hip hop bands will play a concert in Fairmont for a religious celebration.

Musical artists including Skillet and Tedashii will headline an event hosted by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, which has rented Fairmont State University’s Falcon Center to put on the celebration. Will Graham, evangelist Billy Graham’s grandson, is heading up the event, and said that these celebrations may be familiar to those who knew of his grandfather.

“A lot of people from the area probably remember a Billy Graham crusade or they have seen one on television,” Graham said. “They’re similar and they’re different at the same time. Similar in the sense that we’re going to have some great music, and I’ll get up and I’ll preach.

“What’s different is the style of music. Instead of having choir music, we’ll have great Christian bands.”

This past Monday, Graham and his associates met with local church leaders at Trinity Assembly of God to drum up support for the “Mountain State Celebration with Will Graham,” which is coming to Fairmont State University April 24-26.

At Trinity, pastors received a preview of what’s to come in April, with bands playing music as well as a preaching session from Graham.

“I do this around the country and I do this around the world,” Graham said. “I’m just trying to gather support and momentum for what’s going to be taking place in April.”

In order to solidify plans for the upcoming event, Graham and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association will be working with community church members, in order to spread the word.

“We just had an event on Monday and we had just about every county in the state involved,” said Kim Devault, community engagement coordinator for the celebration. “It’s not just the event, it’s really more than that. It’s targeting North Central West Virginia.”

Prior to the Trinity event, Graham said he already had support for the upcoming event, and the April celebration will be successful because of their assistance.

“We’ve got more than 100 churches involved,” Graham said. “We’ll have some great music, some testimonies and I’ll get up and preach every night and give people a chance to respond to the gospel.”

Devault also said that the relationships built through an event like this are one of the perks of being involved, and even people from other counties are helping to plan.

“We meet regularly on a daily basis to prepare for the upcoming event,” Devault said. “I think the greatest thing is the alliances being made just in the community. We’re meeting with different counties and organizations.”

Graham also said the involvement of the community churches helps to bring in more people who may need an event like this in their life. Devault said she was at a Billy Graham celebration as a kid, and found it to be impactful.

For Graham, the event is another opportunity to spread the message of his organization, and all the work and collaboration put into the celebration makes it all the more impactful.

“Everybody focuses on the three-day event, but there is a lot of work and preparation getting to those three days,” Graham said. “It’s exciting, we’re grateful to be here.”

The Will Graham celebration takes place in the evenings from April 24-26 at Fairmont State’s Falcon Center, and is free to attend.

Email Eddie Trizzino at etrizzino@timeswv.com and follow him on Twitter at @eddietimeswv.

News Reporter

Eddie Trizzino has been a reporter with the Times West Virginian since August of 2017, covering the entertainment, business and health beats. He spends most of his time listening to records, going to the movies and strolling through the town.

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