3rd Annual Mount Pulaski Street Fest
sets the stage for a great homecoming
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[July 03, 2014]
MOUNT PULASKI - Mount Pulaski held its
3rd Annual Courthouse Washington Street Fest last Friday evening,
featuring John Schlitt, recently retired lead singer of Petra.
Schlitt performed at full-bore in front of many of his MPHS and MPGS
classmates and several hundred on-lookers that were enjoying Hilltop
Catering's knockwurst and pulled-pork sandwiches, Calm Creek Cafe's
desserts, United Methodist cool treats and American Legion Post 447
The Rosetta Stone band played the evening out under cooler skies
brought on by a few sprinkles and a short-light rain that had
The kids enjoyed a bounce house and obstacle course hosted by
Farmers Bank, and some other games with prizes.
A Mount Pulaski Grade School contest of colored drawings of the
Mount Pulaski Historic Courthouse was held in the courthouse. This
year's MPGS 3rd graders continued the on-going fund-raising by that
class-year for the repair and maintenance of the courthouse, which
now has raised over $25,000 during this two-year drive.
Tours were provided both in the Courthouse and Township Historical
Museum across the street, where free sacks of freshly-made popcorn
were handed out.
Old-fashioned wagon rides pulled by a team of horses provided by KEL
Productions continued throughout the evening.
Abraham Lincoln re-enactor, Randy Duncan, was on hand to relate some
of Lincoln's life as a circuit rider during the mid-1800's. He and
others brought the court of law to 15 county seats in the Illinois
8th Judicial Circuit. Randy also revealed some of the influence
these small communities had on Lincoln. Randy was on hand later to
answer questions about Mr. Lincoln and how it was to grow up during
John Schlitt was born in Lincoln, but shortly thereafter, his family
moved to Mount Pulaski where he grew up, played sports, and excelled
in academics and music. Schlitt began singing and showing interest
in music from a very young age. When he was 13 years old, he joined
a band called Vinegar Hills Hometown Band Something Different. After
graduating from high school, Schlitt enrolled at the U of I, with
the intention of majoring in Civil Engineering. However, his main
interest remained in music. In 1972, he joined a rock band; Head
East, as lead singer with some U of I classmates. Balancing his
music and studies, Schlitt finally graduated from college in 1974
and dedicated himself full-time to his career in music.
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After some successful but tumultuous years with Head East and
then his own failed band, Johnny, Schlitt was asked to audition
for a Christian Rock Band, Petra. He soon replaced Petra's lead
singer, Greg. X. Volz; who had left to pursue a solo career. He
sang his first show on February 3, 1986, beginning a career that
would span nearly two decades. During his career with Petra, the
band released 2 RIAA certified Gold albums and earned 4 Grammy
and numerous Dove awards. His travels and performances with the
group reached all 50 states of America as well as over 35
countries. Early on, John married his hometown sweetheart, Dorla
Froelich, who helped him from "going over the edge" by getting
him to join her in a "born-again" Christian modality.
John has been inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame as the
lead singer of Petra. John Schlitt was recently named the best
rock singer in Christian music history by GospelMusicChannel.com.
According to the website, John Schlitt "remains one of the most
distinctive and impactful men to ever stand behind a
John began his Friday-evening performance by reminding us that
"we are all Prodigal Sons" ... that we just need to let Jesus
enter into or remain in our lives. He sang song after song from
his Petra Albums and from some of his recently-produced work
that he and Petra guitarist and founder, Bob Hartman have
recently released in an album together: II Guys from Petra.
[Text received; PHIL BERTONI]