Designed as a ‘thank you’ for Giving Catalog donors, the monthly concerts start June 21
by Emily Enders Odom, Mission Engagement & Support | Special to Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE — As the familiar strains of “Holy, Holy, Holy!” filled the small sanctuary of the Hayesville (N.C.) Presbyterian Church on Trinity Sunday, May 30, the church’s music leader, Rhonda Lents, abruptly stopped playing the piano as she stood and faced the congregation.
“I have goosebumps; I mean ‘Spirit bumps,’” Lents said with tears in her eyes and a tremble in her voice upon hearing the beloved hymn sung “live” by worshipers for the first time since COVID-19 temporarily shuttered most churches in March 2020. “I’ve missed this.”
She is by no means alone.
Because live music has been sorely missed by so many during the pandemic, the Presbyterian Giving Catalog is pleased to present “Summer of Song: A Concert Series.”
Through three, unique virtual concerts, “Summer of Song” will bring together friends of the Giving Catalog, Presbyterians and others to joyfully experience their shared love of music, its deep connection to worship and praise and the feeling of togetherness that is engendered when people come together in song.
Now in its seventh year, the increasingly popular Presbyterian Giving Catalog — which is available both in print and online as well as for immediate download in Spanish and Korean — is filled with a wide variety of gifts that provide real and positive impact around the world, including aid for refugees, access to clean water and ways to end hunger.
Conceived as a way of thanking supporters of the Presbyterian Giving Catalog, each of the three “Summer of Song” concerts will be available live to Catalog donors and to groups who plan to hold viewing parties. Congregations interested in scheduling a watch party are invited to email their mission specialist for details. Those who contribute to the Catalog in June, July or August will automatically receive the links to view the concerts.
“Our donors continue to blow us away with their generosity,” said Lauren W. Rogers, project manager for Digital Fundraising, Special Offerings and the Presbyterian Giving Catalog. “We’re so excited to offer the Summer Concert Series as a ‘thank you’ to these faithful donors. It’s also an opportunity for people to come back together — after being apart for so long — around our shared appreciation of music.”
Each of the three concerts will premiere at 7 p.m. EDT on the dates below and will feature the following artists:
June 21 – Elizabeth Stockton Perkins is a rising sophomore at Vassar College and a lifelong member of First Presbyterian Church of Wooster, Ohio. Perkins will lift her voice in song with accompaniment by Cameron Edmiston.
July 21 – The Stillman College Concert Choir, under the direction of Jocqueline K. Richardson, is a choral ensemble of students, both music and non-music majors. They will be performing a variety of sacred and secular music including Spirituals arranged by Moses Hogan and the classic Tom Fettke anthem, “The Majesty and Glory of Your Name.” Stillman College is a Presbyterian-affiliated, historically Black liberal arts college in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
August 21 – The Mission Musicians, coordinated by mission engagement advisor, William McConnell, of Louisville, are all members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). These musicians are justice oriented and believe in the power of music to spread God’s love.
Once a concert has premiered, it will then be available for Catalog donors and watch party groups to view online for the remainder of the summer.
Presbyterian mission enthusiast Michele Slone, a member of First Presbyterian Church of Urbana, Ohio, and music teacher at Urbana Elementary School, said that the lack of exposure to live music during the pandemic has been detrimental to people’s overall mental health, both for the artists as well as for those who listen.
“Now that live music is coming back, there’s a reappreciation,” said Slone. “The Summer of Song is allowing for that interaction [between performer and listener] to start to take place again. It is going to mean a sense of joy for a lot of people, because we have missed it.”
Similarly, Rogers, who is overseeing the concert series project, has missed enjoying live music with her loved ones during the pandemic.
“I think the Summer Concert Series is the perfect opportunity to bring people together to honor all we have gone through over the past 16 months,” she said, “and to celebrate the continued generosity and commitment to Presbyterian Mission.”
Now is the time to unite with thousands of others using the Presbyterian Giving Catalog to support the ministries closest to their hearts: feeding the hungry, comforting the brokenhearted and sharing our faith with young and old. Give today by clicking here.
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Ministries: Special Offerings, Mission Engagement and Support