A New Creation
It was with a sense of calm that Keeneyville resident Melissa Owlett started a new business. She had been a fan of Kristyn and Keith Getty, principals in the gospel duo the Gettys. Her pastor asked her if she might handle a local booking for the group. She did, which, in turn, led to a local scheduling. After booking the Christian hymn composers for a concert at Mansfield University’s Straughn Auditorium, she and her husband, Jack, were invited to The Getty Music Workshop Conference–Sing! in Nashville. When she returned home, she was sure of her next venture. She felt led to launch New Creation Events, which would feature booking Christian musicians, speakers, authors, and conference presenters. She was sure that, with God’s guidance, she could make her mission a success.
Melissa has a background in the service industry and in business, having worked as a teenager in her parents’ restaurant and ice-cream business, Farmer in the Dell, in Mansfield. She participated in a work-study program with First Citizens Bank while in high school, and was named the BPW (Business and Professional Women) Girl of the Year. The bank kept her on as a full-time employee after graduation. She then took on planning weddings and catering before opening her first sited business, a party store in Wellsboro. She and her husband also own rental properties and she is in charge. She had been a homeschool mother for a dozen years, but she kept her hand in business with a small Mary Kay operation. She added income as a power seller on eBay, traipsing to auctions on weekends looking for bargains to put on the Internet auction site.
Melissa and her family worship with the Wellsboro Bible Church. “It was a good fit for us,” she says. “It is Christ-centered, and we are trying to get out the message that no matter where you’ve been, no matter what you’ve done, you have a home here.” It is a growing church that filled the pews for two services and had to rent more space. Now services are in a rented auditorium. The rental option gave her an idea. Maybe she could rent space and book acts. So that’s just what she did.
New Creation Events opened in the fall of 2017. Her job is to promote and book speakers, musical artists, lecturers, and other acts. Though Melissa is new herself to the entertainment business, she knows the value of connecting to good mentors for advice and encouragement. “It is very important to reach out to successful folks willing to offer advice,” she says. She was also determined to bring good, clean shows to the area.
She says, “I only work with Christian acts, performers who are faith-based, acts that are Biblically sound, and entertainers who are good teachers. I just didn’t want to have to plug my kids’ ears at concerts. I work with good, family-friendly entertainment.”
Borrowing the idea of facility rental
from her church, she rented an auditorium for her first venture.
“My pastor asked me to help. I complied and was off and running. I brought in the Gettys for my first event. Then it grew from there. I organize, promote, and facilitate the entire event, from start to finish. I negotiate fees with rental accommodations, contact acts, and then negotiate their contracts. It was an eye-opener and lots of work to satisfy professional contracts. Traveling on the road for weeks at a time, a major concern is that they get quality, nutritious food, not cold pizza and soda pop but well-planned, healthy meals. Contracts also cover such things as rooms, travel, sometimes flights.
“I can do the booking through the agent, but often I can contact the performer directly,” she continues. “Then I start the contract negotiations for price, food, rooms, travels—all the details.”
Her booking of the Gettys gave her business a jump start. New Creation then worked with Robyn McKelvy, a Christian speaker and writer. McKelvy’s top selling book, Say It Loud, advises, “Love children like God loves children.” She also authored a tongue in cheek book, SOS: Sick of Sex, that encourages readers to redefine their views on marital intimacy. McKelvy’s local appearance was a part of the women’s ministry at the Wellsboro Bible Church but Melissa was entrusted to do the leg work and organization for the event.
New Creation Events presented its first Christian musical performance at Mansfield University in March. Local Gospel artist Lew Brill opened for contemporary Christian singer and song writer Chris August.
Sharon Jaynes, noted Christian writer, is scheduled to appear locally on November 3. Sharon is an inspirational speaker and a Bible teacher for women’s conferences and events, and the author of several books, including Becoming the Woman of His Dreams and The Power of a Woman’s Words. She tells women to “silence the lies that steal your confidence.”
Recently, New Creation Events sponsored a homeschooling book and curriculum event, giving homeschool parents from around the Twin Tiers a setting to sell gently used books, workbooks, musical instruments, and curricula. New Creation plans to make this an annual event.
Melissa adds that she is “pursuing contracts to book [Penn State’s] Bryce Jordan Center for a two-day conference aimed at pastors, teachers, and worship leaders.” In the meantime, New Creation Events’ biggest coup to date is signing the Christian group Unspoken to perform at the Tioga County Fair on Monday, August 6. Melissa and Jack proposed the concert to the Tioga County Fair Board and received enthusiastic response. Fair officers were, says board member Samantha Wilcox, “very excited for the opportunity to provide new and different entertainment to this year’s fair line-up.”