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BFM: Making a 'joyful noise' in downtown McAlester

Mar. 21—Downtown McAlester resounded with some soulful Christian music when members of BFM set up their instruments and presented a surprise music concert.

The Wilburton-based band members said they wanted to present their musical offerings to the people of McAlester.

They proceeded to do exactly that, drawing onlookers who came to watch and listen their Tuesday evening presentation.

They also drew smiles, waves and thumbs-up from drivers-by as band members played and sang their music from the sidewalk along Choctaw Avenue.

BFM also drew some obviously-appreciative listeners.

They included some who stood close to the band as BFM played and sang. Others sat on benches or took a seat where the new pavilion/outdoor stage is under construction on First Street at the Choctaw Avenue intersection.

BFM is an acronym for Bailey Family Ministry, and the group interspersed their songs by delivering their gospel message.

They're already attracting admirers of their music, including Leigh Ann Rubertus, from across the street at the new Lady Rustic shop.

"They are awesome," Rubertus said as she held her camera to capture BFM's performance.

"We need something refreshing like this," Robertus said. "For them to minister is just amazing to hear."

She also liked the variety of musical instruments the band members played.

While centered around guitar, bass, keyboard and drums, BFM band members had other instruments at the ready as well.

They included violin, bagpipes and even the Irish-sounding penny whistle.

It marked the second time the band has played in McAlester recently, returning for this week's performance due to popular demand from some of those who heard them the first time around.

"We are going to make a joyful noise," said Benjamin Bailey, who sang lead on most songs as well as playing acoustic rhythm and lead guitar.

At one point, band members stepped away from their instruments and gathered in a circle, explaining how when they first moved to Wilburton, they were not able to bring their musical instruments with them.

"We had our voices," said Benjamin Bailey.

He and his siblings Daniel Bailey, Faith Bailey, Ariel Bailey and Israel Bailey then joined their voices in harmony to sing three hymns a cappella, sans instruments.

They blended their voices for harmony-filled renditions of "How Great Thou Art," "The Old Rugged Cross" and "Blessed Assurance."

They were soon back to their instruments which normally consists of Daniel Bailey on keyboards and vocals, Faith Bailey on vocals and occasional violin, Benjamin Bailey on vocals and acoustic guitar, which included a number of lead solos; Ariel Bailey on bass and vocals and Israel Bailey on drums, vocals and penny whistle — which, like the guitar and keyboards, also featured in a number of solos.

Benjamin Bailey said the band wanted to bring a message of hope.

"I hope something we say today, it resonates with you," he said.

He alluded to the Biblical scripture in Matthew 18:20-21, which states "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them."

"We have more than two or three," Benjamin Bailey noted as the band began to play a song called "Miracles."

Along with the music, the group offered up a prayer.

Some of those who've heard BFM's presentations are looking forward to seeing and hearing the band again.

"They are wonderful," said Robertus.