Calvary Chapel of Tehachapi will throw open its doors to a very special event, Worship Night In Tehachapi, for an evening of music, song and praise.
At 7 p.m. Saturday, March 16, the public is invited to join the minister of music, Toby Waldowski, at Calvary Chapel, located at 15719 Highline Road. Admission is free, and no offering will be taken.
Waldowski was born and raised in Webster, S.D., and comes from a music background as a young child.
"My mother was a piano teacher and forced me to practice the piano 30 minutes every morning before school," Waldowski said.
After watching a Billy Graham Crusade on television, Waldowski said, he decided to become a Christian in 1971 at the age of 17. A few days after graduating high school in 1972, South Dakota experienced one of its most tragic days, the Rapid City flood.
"One of Webster's leading citizens was killed in the flood trying to save someone from drowning," Waldowski said. "The following Sunday morning I dedicated my solo in church to this man and his family. It was at that time that I received His call in music ministry."
Waldowski said he went on to attend South Dakota State University in Brookings, and was a music major with an emphasis in performance. He met his wife, Barb, at SDSU, and the two began a singing ministry together and later married in 1975.
After graduating from college, Toby and Barb attended a music ministry conference at the Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove and auditioned to sing for Dr. Robert Schuller and his wife, Arvella. They were offered a position on the music staff and were featured soloists on Dr. Schuller's "Hour of Power" program for 20 years, giving more than 240 solo appearances at Crystal Cathedral.
Said Waldowski, "In 1977, we started a traveling ministry throughout North America. That ministry lasted 26 years."
During those years, the couple recorded 11 albums, gave more than 4,000 concerts and were guest soloists in two Billy Graham Crusades. Toby's song "South Dakota My Home" was sung at the 50th anniversary of the Mt. Rushmore Memorial in 1992.
After reading the book "Love Comes Softly," by Janette Oke, Toby said he became inspired to write a theater musical, which was performed throughout America and Canada.
Said Waldowski, "In the summer of 2012, I enthusiastically accepted an invitation to become the minister of music at Calvary Chapel of Tehachapi."
Waldowski said this will be the first performance of Worship Night in Tehachapi; however, he hopes to make it a quarterly event.
The program will begin with Toby, who will sing 10 songs accompanied by Lana Massey, another member of the Calvary worship team.
During intermission, coffee and goodies will be served, followed by another round of songs with Toby accompanied by his daughter, Olivia Simko.
"Olivia has been singing with me for about a year now, and she is just extraordinary," Waldowski said. "She is also greatly blessed to be able to use her musical and spiritual gifts on the worship team."
Waldowski said the service will include old hymns and new ones.
Said Waldowski, "I go way back to my roots in church, so I have lots of hymns. We will have a wide variety of Christian music worship songs."
Toby and Barb also have a son, Jesse Waldowski. Their extended family includes Jesse's wife, Tiffany, and their two sons, and Olivia's husband, Johnny.
For more information about Worship Night in Tehachapi, call Calvary Chapel at 823-9814.