Rock the River designed as community togetherness event

bobby-petrocelli-speakingWhat began as the result of a tragedy has grown to be an event meant to create unity in Demopolis.

Billed as “Rock the Rivers,” the program will feature Bobby Petrocelli of Tampa, Fla., and a whole host of singers and musicians from the Demopolis area. It will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 6, at Fairhaven Baptist Church and is open to everyone.

“Our prayer and our hope is that for this one evening, we put aside our differences and come together as a community,” said Patrick George, who has spearheaded the program. George hopes that the people of the Demopolis area “think about what our community would be like if we could take that feeling beyond Wednesday night.”

The idea for the program began when Demopolis suffered the loss of one of its young men, Demopolis High School student Cody Webb, who died in a car accident earlier this year. George said his 14-year-old daughter was having difficulty trying to deal with the tragedy.

George and Petrocelli first met in 1993 when the two began speaking professionally. In recent years they reconnected.

George knew that Petrocelli, among other topics, spoke on dealing with grief based on his own personal tragedy. He contacted his friend, who spent almost two hours ministering to George and giving him guidance on how to help his daughter.

George felt that Petrocelli could bring a vital message to Demopolis, but his speaking fees were beyond what local schools and churches could afford. Petrocelli offered to come anyway and accept as his fee whatever is collected in a love offering at “Rock the Rivers.” To help with expenses, the speaker’s room and meals are being donated.

Petrocelli not only will give an inspirational talk at Fairhaven for everyone, but he will speak at both Demopolis Middle School at 8:30 a.m. and Demopolis High School at 1 p.m. that day.

After the Fairhaven event, Petrocelli will meet with members of families who have lost loved ones in the past year to help them cope with their grief.

Among those who will be performing at Rock the Rivers are Laura Clements, her River City Glee, Margie Walker Jackson, Fairhaven Youth Choir, Testify and Kaitlyn Waldrop. George will give the introduction for his friend.

A professional speaker for 20 years, Petrocelli is a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), the highest earned designation of the National Speaking Association and International Federation of Professional Speakers.

Founder of his non-profit organization, 10 Seconds, Inc., Petrocelli is a former teacher, counselor and coach who has appeared before audiences around the world.