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Fine Arts winner makes it to Hollywood

Mon, 01 Mar 2010 - 3:55 PM CST

Luke Edgemon
Edgemon

"American Idol" premiered its Hollywood Week on Tuesday, February 9, 2010, showcasing 181 contestants that survived the initial auditions and were back to prove themselves deserving of a spot on the hit television show.

North Carolina singer Luke Edgemon was one of those contestants sent to Hollywood after his Orlando audition.

"When I first realized that I'd made it to Hollywood, I felt like I was imagining it," Edgemon says. "Standing in front of the Idol judges and Kristen Chenoweth was surreal enough already."

Edgemon, who won first place in the Male Vocal Solo category at the Assemblies of God National Fine Arts Festival in 2006, says making it to Hollywood felt much like the first time he made it to second and third rounds in Nationals. "Something I had been trying to achieve for so many years had finally been attained ... I couldn't have been happier," he says.

"Being a part of National Fine Arts played a part in almost every aspect of my journey on American Idol," Edgemon says. According to Edgemon, little things throughout the competition reminded him of Fine Arts, such as the constant adjudication and calls to the stage.

Although sent home during American Idol's Hollywood week, he learned some valuable lessons from his Fine Arts experiences that prepared him for this situation.

"Rejection is also something that FAF taught me to deal with," he says. "While most people don't like to associate a negative word like that with the amazing things that come from Fine Arts, it is unfortunately an emotion most of us who participate have to deal with and overcome." 

"I am thankful to have learned, at a young age, that no matter what dismissal we face, we are still destined by God to walk in our calling. I focused on this particular bit of knowledge when I was released from the American Idol competition during Hollywood Week this year, and I have the 6 years I participated in National Fine Arts Festival to thank," Edgemon says.

Edgemon learned another lesson while preparing for his auditions that may come as a surprise to some - he gave up soft drinks and coffee, which could harm his voice. "I had a meeting with a local speech pathologist before going to Los Angeles, and she taught me that caffeine is extremely harmful to the vocal chords, as it dries them out significantly, and doesn't allow them to work to their fullest potential," he says.

Since his release from American Idol in January, Edgemon has secured a few singing opportunities: singing in churches throughout the United States, performing the national anthem at sporting events, and judging the district level of the Fine Arts Festival competition in a number of states.  He has also started recording a few covers for fun.

During his journey through Fine Arts, Edgemon attended Glad Tidings Church (AG) in Dunn, North Carolina. He does not attend the church anymore, however, sees himself as a member of quite a few AG churches throughout the country while he travels. "I travel as much as I can, ministering through songs that Jesus has blessed me with," Edgemon says.

As for season 10 auditions, Edgemon says he would definitely try out for American Idol again. "The entire process is insanely fun and interesting. From the travel, to the constant immersion in song, to meeting the most amazing people; the experience is like no other," he says.

"Right now, I am hoping that God brings me to something much bigger than American Idol in 2010. However, I walk through every door that I feel He holds the key to; and if nothing significant has taken my journey one step closer to the tremendous calling He has ordained for my life, then you can definitely expect to see me in those long lines again this fall."

Wherever Edgemon is singing, he is sure that his faith plays a part in his music. "My faith holds an esteemed role in my music. Before I sing a note, or even take a breath, I challenge myself to remember where my giftings and talents came from," he says. "Making music is my calling, and I cannot ever allow myself to forget that."

To hear some of Edgemon's music, visit his Myspace page.


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Luke Edgemon
Edgemon

"American Idol" premiered its Hollywood Week on Tuesday, February 9, 2010, showcasing 181 contestants that survived the initial auditions and were back to prove themselves deserving of a spot on the hit television show.

North Carolina singer Luke Edgemon was one of those contestants sent to Hollywood after his Orlando audition.

"When I first realized that I'd made it to Hollywood, I felt like I was imagining it," Edgemon says. "Standing in front of the Idol judges and Kristen Chenoweth was surreal enough already."

Edgemon, who won first place in the Male Vocal Solo category at the Assemblies of God National Fine Arts Festival in 2006, says making it to Hollywood felt much like the first time he made it to second and third rounds in Nationals. "Something I had been trying to achieve for so many years had finally been attained ... I couldn't have been happier," he says.

"Being a part of National Fine Arts played a part in almost every aspect of my journey on American Idol," Edgemon says. According to Edgemon, little things throughout the competition reminded him of Fine Arts, such as the constant adjudication and calls to the stage.

Although sent home during American Idol's Hollywood week, he learned some valuable lessons from his Fine Arts experiences that prepared him for this situation.

"Rejection is also something that FAF taught me to deal with," he says. "While most people don't like to associate a negative word like that with the amazing things that come from Fine Arts, it is unfortunately an emotion most of us who participate have to deal with and overcome." 

"I am thankful to have learned, at a young age, that no matter what dismissal we face, we are still destined by God to walk in our calling. I focused on this particular bit of knowledge when I was released from the American Idol competition during Hollywood Week this year, and I have the 6 years I participated in National Fine Arts Festival to thank," Edgemon says.

Edgemon learned another lesson while preparing for his auditions that may come as a surprise to some - he gave up soft drinks and coffee, which could harm his voice. "I had a meeting with a local speech pathologist before going to Los Angeles, and she taught me that caffeine is extremely harmful to the vocal chords, as it dries them out significantly, and doesn't allow them to work to their fullest potential," he says.

Since his release from American Idol in January, Edgemon has secured a few singing opportunities: singing in churches throughout the United States, performing the national anthem at sporting events, and judging the district level of the Fine Arts Festival competition in a number of states.  He has also started recording a few covers for fun.

During his journey through Fine Arts, Edgemon attended Glad Tidings Church (AG) in Dunn, North Carolina. He does not attend the church anymore, however, sees himself as a member of quite a few AG churches throughout the country while he travels. "I travel as much as I can, ministering through songs that Jesus has blessed me with," Edgemon says.

As for season 10 auditions, Edgemon says he would definitely try out for American Idol again. "The entire process is insanely fun and interesting. From the travel, to the constant immersion in song, to meeting the most amazing people; the experience is like no other," he says.

"Right now, I am hoping that God brings me to something much bigger than American Idol in 2010. However, I walk through every door that I feel He holds the key to; and if nothing significant has taken my journey one step closer to the tremendous calling He has ordained for my life, then you can definitely expect to see me in those long lines again this fall."

Wherever Edgemon is singing, he is sure that his faith plays a part in his music. "My faith holds an esteemed role in my music. Before I sing a note, or even take a breath, I challenge myself to remember where my giftings and talents came from," he says. "Making music is my calling, and I cannot ever allow myself to forget that."

To hear some of Edgemon's music, visit his Myspace page.


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Church Dedicates Alzheimer's Facility

Thu, 20 Nov 2014 - 9:53 AM CST

Memory Lane
Van Buren First Assembly of God's Memory Lane Alzheimer's Special Care Unit is considered the finest Alzheimer's facility in Arkansas and one of the best in the nation.

Many Assemblies of God churches care for the needy through food pantries, clothing banks, holiday meals and similar compassion ministries. But Van Buren (Arkansas) First Assembly of God may be the very first AG church to not only offer a retirement center for seniors, but now a fully-staffed care unit for individuals who have Alzheimer's or dementia.

The new $5 million, 34,000 square-foot Memory Lane Alzheimer's Special Care Unit, dedicated on November 13, was recently completed through the donation of a gift of $5 million given anonymously last November. The care unit is an addition to the already existing 60,000-square-foot Legacy Heights Retirement Center.

Senior Pastor Bobby Johnson, who has been ministering at the 1,100-member church for the past 34 years, says that in 2007 the church opened the Legacy Heights Retirement Center, offering 55 units for retirees.

Having converted a wing of the center into an Alzheimer's care unit in 2009, Johnson says at first the church struggled as the economy crash at that time took its toll. "But three years ago, a foundation offered us a $1 million grant, if we could match it," Johnson says. "We matched almost all of it and that helped us recover."

Memory Lane pictures
Much of the decor in Memory Lanes is designed to help those with Alzheimer's use their memories.

Apparently liking what Johnson and Van Buren First Assembly were doing, the same foundation came back to them this past November and offered the grant money to build a state-of-the-art Alzheimer's care facility.

AG General Treasurer Doug Clay spoke at the dedication of the new unit. "Thank you for being a wonderful and biblical example of excellence in ministry to our seniors," Clay said. "There is nothing quite like this . . . praise the Lord!"

When the new facility, which is expected to open by mid-December, is at capacity (40 patients), it will have a staff of 50 to 60 people, including nurses and other professional staff who will provide 24-hour care in private rooms. The facility is also licensed by the state.

"Memory Lane is divided into two mirroring pods of 16,000-square-feet each," Johnson says. "They each have 20 rooms and include a dining room, activities room, a beauty salon, whirlpool, an outdoor walking track within the confines of each pod, and between the pods is a safe room for residents of Legacy Heights and Memory Lane."

Clay observed that one out of eight Americans are now age 65 or older, with more than 5,500 Americans turning 65 every day. "As the percentage of older people in the population increases, problems, attitudes, responsibilities, and care related to the aging become matters of increasing concern," Clay said.

Pastor Bobby Johnson
Pastor Bobby Johnson

Johnson agrees with Clay's assessment. "Statistics say 1 out of 2 people who are 85 will contract this disease — a disease where there are no survivors."

According to what state officials have already communicated to Johnson, the new Alzheimer's facility is the best in the state and is one of the best in the nation.

"The difference is, this facility was built strictly for Alzheimer's patients — it's not an older building converted to house Alzheimer's patients," Johnson explains. "For example, our large outdoor walking track is secure, pictures and decorations are from the 1930s, 40s and 50s, which will help with memory, and each patient's door will have pictures of their family members on it."

What's more, Johnson says, those residents living at Legacy Heights and the patients soon to be a part of Memory Lane will continue to have the opportunities to hear the gospel message, through visitation of retired AG ministers and live-streaming of all church services.

And perhaps Clay summed the church's efforts up best when he said during the dedication, "Thank you for addressing this concern with care, quality and excellence."

For more information about Legacy Heights or Memory Lane, contact Van Buren First AG at info@vbfirst.com.

 

 

Keywords: AG churches
Authors: Dan Van Veen

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