FAITH & WORSHIP PIC TOMMY DUNLAP.jpg

Lay worship leader and musician Tommy Dunlap witnesses his faith through his music. The longtime musician is helping to organize Rock Around The Flock on the historic Square on May 5.

Music has a special way of touching people's hearts and drawing them closer to a spiritual encounter with God.

Musician and vocalist Tommy Dunlap doesn't mind "pulling a few strings" if it means adding a few converts to the kingdom.

For the fourth year, Dunlap and his band, Tommy Dunlap and Friends, are the headliners for a day of praise, worship and song on the historic DeSoto County Courthouse lawn.

"I prayed about it and realized that the community didn't have a Christian music festival," said Dunlap, an engineer by trade.

So once again, Dunlap is strapping on his guitar and joining other musicians for the second annual "Rock Around The Flock," slated for May 5 on the historic Hernando Square.

Festivities are planned from noon until 6 p.m.

The musical concert and festivities are a fundraiser for the Interfaith Council on Poverty, which through its food bank and other services, feeds the physically hungry.

"We've had good weather for the past three years, with the exception of one year when it rained" Dunlap said.

Dunlap wants to quench the spiritual hunger that is plaguing much of today's society.

The Interfaith Council on Poverty is comprised of member churches in the DeSoto County area that have united to serve our community.

Interfaith operates the Hernando Food Pantry, which provides food and necessities for struggling families and seniors. The organization also provides clothing and supplies for a Back-To-School program in the DeSoto County schools.

During the holidays, Interfaith prepares Thanksgiving baskets for seniors and Christmas baskets for families in need.

Music strikes a chord in Dunlap's soul and it's a love that he is more than eager to share with others.

"I have loved music since I was a teenager," Dunlap said.

The Hernando native is involved in the music ministry at Hernando United Methodist Church.

"I felt that God has been able to use my talents," Dunlap said. "I've played in bands in Jackson, Miss. and Kansas City, Mo., as well as locally."

The gospel of Jesus Christ is a blessing and gift that Dunlap feels compelled to share.

Dunlap said he had a spiritual awakening after the passing of his late wife in 2014. Dunlap has since remarried and has a young son, now 2.

"When my wife passed away in 2014, it allowed me to have reflection on my life," Dunlap said. "I got to thinking what is the one thing that I can do to show God how appreciative I am of him."

Dunlap tuned to his natural talent as a musician.

"I got to writing Christian music and writing and recording songs," Dunlap said. "I noticed that we had plenty of secular music concerts around the square. I would go to them and enjoyed them. But I noticed that we didn't have a Christian music event."

When Dunlap was coming up with a name for the event, he had a clever burst of inspiration.

Dunlap said he was familiar with the successful "Flock Around the Block," a benefit walk/run held in years past.

So he named his event "Rock Around the Flock" to encourage believers and people of all faiths and denominations to come together to share a love for Gospel music and benefit the charity that assists families with dietary needs.

Concert-goers are encouraged to bring their own blanket or chair to enjoy the music on the lawn.

Slated performers include Brandi Bell, Kara Fitch, Sarah and Caroline Mosley, Chris and Shelly Dorr, in addition to Tommy Dunlap and Friends, which consists of Theo Riede, a Scandinavian guitarist, John Harris and Greg Tackett.

Robert Lee Long is Community Editor of the DeSoto Times-Tribune. He may be contacted at rlong@desototimestribune.com or at 662-429-6397, Ext. 252.

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