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Sparks fly at annual scholarship fundraiser
The Power Play Band, with lead singer Craig Gleason, pictured, will perform at Friday’s Starlight Concert, set for 6:30 p.m. at Gainesville State College in Oakwood. - photo by For The Times

Starlight Concert and Fireworks Show
When: Gates open at 6 p.m. Friday; Power Play Band starts at 6:30 p.m.; fireworks at dark
Where: G.W. Bailey Amphitheater, Gainesville State College, 3820 Mundy Mill Road, Oakwood
How much: $10 parking for cars; $20 for passenger van or larger vehicle; benefits the Gainesville State College Alumni Scholarship Fund
More info: 678-717-3648 or

You can get a jump on the Fourth of July and see a fireworks display at The Starlight Concert, set for 6:30 p.m. Friday at Gainesville State College in Oakwood.

Michelle B. Brown, director of alumni affairs at GSC, said the concert will feature live music from The Power Play Band and fireworks at dark.

Brown said the goal of the event, now in its 12th year, is to raise at least $15,000 to benefit the Gainesville State College Alumni Scholarship Fund, which works with GSC’s financial aid office to award scholarships to students at the college.

"That’s what the parking fee is collected for ... exclusively for scholarships," she said.

Bring blankets, chairs and even a picnic to the event, Brown said, but parking at another location and walking to the campus will not be allowed.

"We have had some entrance changes, and last year a lot of people walked in from Walmart or other entrances," she said. "I think their goal was to try to get out quick with traffic, but it was really not that safe with children."

She added that leaving the event should not take more than about 15 minutes, since GSC coordinates with the Oakwood Police Department to help traffic flow smoothly.

Brown said attendance for Starlight has increased in the past few years.

"It has increasingly grown over the last three to four years," she said. "We are approaching 4,000 to 5,000 people."

Brown said The Power Play Band has performed at the event for more than three years, and the college keeps asking the band to return because of its popularity.

"They take requests from the crowd, but they can do music from the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s," she said.

Craig Gleason of Alpharetta, lead singer and founder of the band, said he started the group almost 13 years ago.

"We’ve had pretty much the same folks in it (all along)," Gleason said.

He said the group will perform a variety of songs spanning several genres at the concert.

"We’re going to do some Bob Marley. We’re going to do some Aretha Franklin ... (and some) stuff from the ’80s," Gleason said. "We might throw in some Jack Johnson, some Jason Mraz."

Gleason said the group will likely be able to play any song requested.

"We’ve all been playing for so long ... We know hundreds and hundreds of songs," he said.

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