Country 'Idol' to perform in Galax

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Fifth season “American Idol” contestant and country music artist Kellie Pickler is scheduled to perform at Galax First Baptist Church on Dec. 14 as part of the annual Morgan Shepherd Charitable Fund visit to the Twin Counties.

The concert at 4 p.m. is free and open to the public.

The Dec. 14 event will also include the band Mountain Creek Harmony, "Mayberry Deputy" David Browning and Christian comedian Barry McGee.

The Morgan Shepherd Charitable Fund organizers, including NASCAR driver Morgan Shepherd, have traveled to Virginia for the past 23 years to visit friends at the PARC Workshop in Stuart, and always made a stop in Galax — most often at the Rex Theater downtown — and distribute gift bags at the Southwest Virginia Training Center.

Last year, Shepherd's charity distributed $5,000 to families in need in the Twin Counties.

Several NASCAR drivers are also scheduled to attend, including Shepherd, Camping World Truck Series star Dennis Setzer and Nationwide regulars Johnny Chapman and Brett Rowe.

The church seats 1,200 people and the seats will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

The charity also hopes to distribute more than 1,000 holiday gift bags to the handicapped and less fortunate who attend the event.

Pickler, who grew up in Albemarle, N.C., released her first album Small Town Girl in 2006, which has sold 817,000 copies. The album produced three hit singles including “Red High Heels,” “I Wonder” and “Things That Never Cross a Man's Mind.”

The first single from her self-titled second album, “Don't You Know You're Beautiful,” was released in mid-2008 and reached the Top 25. The second single, “Best Days of Your Life,” was co-written with country pop artist Taylor Swift and has now become Pickler's first Top Ten hit — and her most successful hit to date.

The charity fund's day will begin with a private tour of the Wood Brothers Racing Museum and a breakfast event at the PARC Workshop in Stuart, a training center for the mentally and physically disabled where the clients learn basic life skills such as cleaning, cooking and manufacturing and refinishing furniture.

The PARC Workshop relies on donations from the charity to upgrade its facility and enhance its programs. In addition, the charity has donated a modular home to help teach daily independence skills to the handicapped adults that work there.

Last year, Shepherd's charity raised $30,000 to support the PARC Workshop.

• More information is available by calling the Morgan Shepherd Charitable Fund office at (828) 256-2194 and donations for the events are being accepted.

The Morgan Shepherd Charitable Fund is a non-profit, 501c3 corporation. Tax deductible donations can be made to:

The Morgan Shepherd Charitable Fund, P.O. Box 623, Conover, N.C. 28613.