Grace United Methodist Church will share with the community its third annual Gift of Love Christmas Benefit Concert on Sunday.
The holiday music extravaganza, which will feature the church’s musicians and professional performers from the Chicago area, will raise money to benefit Feed My Starving Children.
“Music is a beautiful and wonderful way to truly celebrate the Christmas season and benefitting people throughout the world as a product of being able to enjoy this concert … It just multiplies and multiples and blesses a lot of people,” said Gay Craig, chairperson of the hunger committee at Grace Church.
Proceeds from Gift of Love will fund the church’s participation in Feed the Need in February.
The community-wide event draws local congregations together to pack thousands of meals for Feed My Starving Children.
“Last year we packed 453,600 meals, which were shipped throughout the world. Now the need is greater than ever,” Craig said.
Dan Wagner, music minister at Grace Church, said there is an abundance of musical talent as well as a deep commitment to the music ministry on the part of the congregation.
“Every church has its strengths and uniqueness. Music is one of ours,” he said. ‘‘At one point, it came to us that if we put our resources into a ticketed event, we could do charitable outreach and support something worthwhile. We started our benefit concert three years ago, and it’s been a great experience.”
This year’s program will feature Grace Church’s adult choir, youth choir, a men’s a cappella group, a 34-piece orchestra, including members from Chicago Civic Orchestra, and two guest artists: trumpeter Chris O’Hara and harpist Julia Coronelli. The highlight of the event is likely to be the annual reading of “The Night Before Christmas” by Naperville Mayor A. George Pradel.
“The program varies a little from year to year,” Wagner said. “There’s a focus on really great Christmas music. It’s live music, the quality of which you’d usually have to go into the city to hear.”
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