When Lance Stafford asked the sea of about 100 cars filled with concert-goers to give a honk if they were ready to turn the page on 2020, the parking lot at Rock Hills Church Friday erupted into toots, honks and cheers.

If the loudness of blaring horns were an indication, the audience seemed ready to welcome 2021.

Cloverton, a contemporary Christian worship band based in Manhattan, played a Christmas carol sing-along concert Friday night under the stars, benefiting Flint Hills Christian School.

Stafford said the hope of Christmas isn’t in the next stimulus check, who’s in the White House or if K-State wins the Big 12 title.

“The hope lies in the world when a baby came over 2,000 years ago,” he said.

He encouraged concert-goers to slow down and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ during this season.

At the concert, some people sat in the comfort of their warm cars while others sat in lawn chairs. Others backed their vehicles with the trunk facing the stage, so they could watch from sitting on the trunk. One group of children even sat on top of a van to catch a view of the concert.

“What an awesome turn-out and a crazy year,” Stafford said.

During the concert, Cloverton played classics like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Little Drummer Boy” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” The band invited concert-goers to sing along with them. Following the ending of songs, viewers honked their horns and cheered, showing excitement for Cloverton.

The band even played its Christmas rendition of “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen, a song Zeboriah Carter said is his favorite. Carter attended the concert with his family.

“It’s just exciting to get out,” he said.

Like the Carters, Ann Ulmer attended the concert with her family to celebrate the upcoming Christmas holiday. They are big fans of Cloverton, she said.

“We always look forward to their concerts,” she said. “The kids love music.”

Ulmer said the concert set-up reminded her of drive-in movie theaters.

The concert in Manhattan was the band’s first conducted in a drive-thru style, Stafford said.

“It’s the nicest outdoor show we’ve played so far,” Stafford said about the Manhattan concert.

Cloverton is comprised of Stafford, who is lead vocalist and plays the keyboard, his twin brother Layne Stafford, who plays bass guitar and sings, Rains Walls on drums and Conner Giles on guitar. The band, which formed in 2011, planned to wrap up its weekend with a Saturday show in Augusta and a live stream concert at 6 p.m. Sunday.

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