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Patriotic music extravaganza this weekend

American Idol finalist Danny Gokey featured performer
By: Gloria Beverage, Placer Herald Editor
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American Idol finalist Danny Gokey featured performer By Gloria Beverage Placer Herald Editor Celebrate America, a family-friendly music extravaganza honoring military personnel and emergency responders, will be held Saturday and Sunday at Twin Oaks Park, 5500 Park Ave. Hosted by Destiny Christian Church, the fourth annual Independence Day celebration will open with pre-show entertainment provided by 12 local bands from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Twelve food vendors will be selling a variety of foods, drinks and desserts. A kids? play area with inflatable jump houses will be set up. Cost is $5 for unlimited rides. Attendees will also be able to check out a display of military and emergency response vehicles, including a Black Hawk helicopter. Glow necklaces and 3-D glasses will be available for purchase. The musical extravaganza, produced and directed by Destiny?s Creative Arts Director Kent Ferris and his wife, Kathy, and featuring hundreds of volunteer cast members, will begin at 8 p.m. Joining the production on both nights will be Danny Gokey, who captured the hearts of television audiences during season eight of America?s popular television show, ?American Idol.? Born in Milwaukee, the fifth of six children, Gokey was introduced to music by his parents, who loved Motown, jazz and country. His exposure to music continued at the church where his family played an active role. After he and his high school sweetheart, Sophia, were married, Gokey attempted to make a living driving 18-wheelers, but music remained his passion. With Sophia?s encouragement, Gokey decided to audition for American Idol. Sadly, one month before the scheduled audition, his wife unexpectedly died during heart surgery. At first, he considered withdrawing, but eventually decided to honor his promise to his wife. Gokey was selected for the show and finished in the top three, which helped to launch his singing career. His first album, ?My Best Days,? was released in 2010. In addition to Gokey?s performances, both nights will feature a medley of songs representing each branch of the armed forces, songs from each state, dances and historic vignettes as well as pay tribute to local military personnel and emergency responders. Highlight of the evening will be the performance of the song, ?Hero for a Day,? in which various scenes from America?s history ? the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Spirit of ?76, Civil War, Iwo Jima, Vietnam and 9/11 ? will be portrayed. The centerpiece of the stage will be a high-rise structure built in the shape of the American flag holding members of the choir. Two jumbo LED screens placed on either side of the stage will give attendees a better view of the performances on stage. Each night?s performance will culminate in a spectacular aerial fireworks display. Blankets, chairs, small umbrellas, sun protection and picnics are suggested. Dogs and alcoholic beverages will not be allowed in the park. Parking attendants will be at the park entrance to direct vehicles to parking spaces. Parking will also be available on the streets around the park. Portable toilets will be located at the fence between Twin Oaks School and the park. ________ Celebrate America featuring Danny Gokey When: Opens at 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday Where: Twin Oaks Park, 5500 Park Ave. Admission free