Jake Hamilton to appear in Ridgecrest

Jake  Hamilton  to appear in  Ridgecrest By BRIAN COSNER

News Review Staff Writer

Christian musician Jake Hamilton will come to Ridgecrest next month for a benefit concert sponsored by the Ridgecrest Intercessory House of Prayer and the Desert Empire Fairgrounds.

Our town was not originally scheduled as a stop on Hamilton’s tour, but thanks to the persistence of RIHOP cofounder and event coordinator Tara Packer, he’ll be here Sunday, Dec. 11, at the fairgrounds.

Packer said she’s been repeatedly asked by friends how she managed to get Hamilton, a household name in the Christian music scene, to come to Ridgecrest.

She would reply, “God told me to go, and I went.”

The concert’s proceeds will be put toward local RIHOP programs, specifically a faith-based recovery home for victims of substance abuse.

A Hamilton fan for many years, Packer heard that he would play in Claremont last month, and just a day before the concert, she decided she would go because she felt led to ask him to play here.

“I drove down to the concert, and when it was over, I found him and asked, ‘Would you be interested in coming to Ridgecrest? Is there any way we could get you here?’ He literally just pulled out his phone and said, ‘How about Dec. 11?’”

“I couldn’t believe he was interested.

He ended up giving me the email address to book him,” said Packer

But a few days later, she hadn’t heard a response from the Hamilton or his band and was becoming eager to promote the event.

So when she found that he was playing a concert in Laguna Niguel, she drove the three-and-a-half hours to try again.

“Of course he’s busy,” said Packer. “He goes all over the world. In fact, the reason he offered Dec. 11 is because that’s his last available date before he leaves for Brazil a few days later.”

When she arrived again, Hamilton recognized her and gave her his bandmate’s phone number to coordinate the details.

It was official that Hamilton would appear in Ridgecrest.

“I want to get 1,000 people in the seats,” said Packer. “There will be food trucks and snacks, and I’m still inviting vendors to participate.”

Packer said that the process of booking the world-touring artist was “just amazing.” She thanks God for the opportunity to bring this event to the community.

“I do believe that if we support this event, more like it will come,” said Packer.

“The whole reason for the prayer house is to make our city a better place and to show God’s love. Hamilton is very gifted at reaching people of all ages. He’s very real and down-to-earth.”

Hamilton is married with three children, including a teenager diagnosed with cerebral palsy a few years ago. He openly shares his and his family’s struggle with hearing the news of her condition and uses that example to encourage others to trust in the Lord and not surrender to their handicaps, whatever they may be.

Concert tickets are $20 per individual or $30 per couple. Children 10 and younger get in free. Tickets are available at the Ridgecrest Chamber of Commerce, Pizza Factory, Bread of Life, Jewelry To Go and many local churches.

The concert begins at 4 p.m. Local artist Ray Smith will be there painting live during the concert. His work will be auctioned off at the end of the event as part of the fundraiser.

Packer asks those who can’t make it, but would still like to contribute to the prayer house’s efforts, to purchase tickets, and RIHOP will make sure they go to someone who can use them.

“We don’t want anybody to miss out because they can’t afford to come,” said Packer.

She is also still seeking food trucks and Christian-themed vendors for the event. Anybody interested can contact her at 760-382-3858.

For information on Hamilton, visit www.jakehamiltonmusic. com. For information about the prayer house, see www.facebook.com/RidgecrestHouseofprayer.

Story First Published: 2016-11-23