Steve Walker is a local farmer and church-goer who has met many people over the years from different faiths.

All those meetings though, were chance encounters, not all together in one place.

That's where his idea originated for the local Homecoming Gospel Music Concert.

"I thought we needed a way to bring everyone together without the denominational walls," he said.

The Homecoming Concert will be at 6-7:30 p.m. Sunday, March 8, at the Hermiston Conference Center, 415 S. Highway 395.

The concert will feature a variety of gospel music, from hymnals to congregational music.

"It's just a big variety," Walker said.

In the past, the concert has featured the Has Been Wannabes, a Latin praise team from Portland, and a man who played bagpipes for an event that has grown steadily since its inception four years ago.

"350 people showed up the first year and 600 showed up last year," Walker said.

Everyone is welcome to attend the free concert, but as always, donations will be accepted.

"There will be refreshments for the audience and people can sit at tables to mingle," Walker said.

And it's mingling that Walker and his fellow organizers want to happen.

"In the end all of these denominational walls will go away," Walker said. "And God probably didn't want us to be so indifferent to each other."

Jordawn Wambeke, who will be the mistress of ceremonies for the concert, agreed.

"It's one of those evenings where someone can see a person for the first time in a few years," Wambeke said.

Making an event that brings people together in one place and on equal footing has been very special to Walker.

"It has been rewarding for me because you get to meet and learn about people you never would meet," he said.

He added, that the concert fills in a niche in the community, and has gained more support from the community in return year after year.

"I always hear good things from people who go," he said. "After the first year, more people have wanted to help and I appreciate that."

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