‘Harvest is Plentiful Concert’ set for Nov. 3 at St. Joseph’s

St. Joseph Church will host the 23rd Annual “The Harvest is Plentiful Concert” on Sunday, Nov. 3, at 6 p.m. in the church at 145 E. Main Street Fredonia.

The concert is a joint effort of SS Columba/Brigid Roman Catholic Church’s Gospel Choir from Buffalo, under the direction of Lynda Martin and St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church’s Voice and Handbell Choirs from Fredonia, under the direction of Lucy Hurley. The churches take turns hosting the event.

“It is just amazing to me how so many people from neighboring churches look forward to it each year; some have even attended every year since 1990. When SS Columba/Brigid hosts the concert, St. Joseph Church takes a busload of people from the parish and community to Buffalo,” said Hurley.

Each concert consists of a variety of music which incorporates different styles and instrumentation. This year will play true to tradition. The concert will start off with both choirs performing “Manifesto”; an intense Christian Pop Rock song written by Elias Dummer, Eric Fusilier, Aaaron Powel and Joshua Vanderlaan; and performed by “The City Harmonics.”

“The audience is sure to enjoy the styling of Brian Simmons from SS Columba/Brigid on the piano,” Hurley promised.

Two African-American Spirituals “Come by Here” and “Hush” both arranged by Stephen M. Lee will create a completely different tone. They will be performed a cappella with close harmonies and the addition of improvised African drumming.

Next, St. Joseph Choirs will be performing alone. They will bring back a favorite Gospel song they performed six years ago entitled, “Praise His Holy Name” by Keith Hampton. Slowing the pace down with “Christ In Me Arise” by Trevor Thomson, this beautiful song will create a prayerful mood with a Celtic feel. The Handbell choir will get things movin’ and groovin’ with “A Taste of New Orleans” arranged by Brian Childers. It is a fun, swinging medley of three spirituals most commonly associated with the great jazz tradition of the French Quarter and the great musical heritage of “The Big Easy.”

The medley includes: Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Just a Closer Walk with Thee and When the Saints Go Marching In.” This clever arrangement will be a delight to the audience and the bell ringers will have a lot of fun performing it. Many of the youth that helped out on the opening song will come back and assist on “Stand Firm,” for which the refrain is a traditional Cameroon song arranged by Rob Glover. Percussion instruments will add an infectious authenticity to the song.

“Many people are drawn to the concert to hear SS Columba/ Brigid Church’s Gospel Choir” states Hurley. This choir will also perform solo. Some of the songs they will be singing include: “What a Fellowship” Medley by Charles Jenkins and the New Fellowship Chicago Choir, which is an up tempo Gospel style song. They will also be performing “I Am So Blessed” by Karen Drurucker from Hearts of Healing which is a Praise and Worship Song. A special treat for the audience is when young Daniel Lord will accompany himself on the piano as he sings Josh Groban’s “You Raise Me Up”.

The two choirs will join back up again for the closing segment of the concert starting with “Hosanna” by Kirk Franklin done to a driving urban groove. Last year in Buffalo they performed this as an instrumental with much success and this year they will be adding the joint choirs to enhance it.

Brass, woodwinds and strings will embellish this already dynamic contemporary Rhythm and blues praise song. Karen Lafferty’s “Seek Ye First” and Pachelbel’s Canon in D, are cleverly brought together in Douglas E. Wagner’s gentle choral and handbell arrangement of the above mentioned classic canons. Another gospel song done to a moderate shuffle entitled “Clap Your Hands” by John P. Kee along with “Make Us One” by Carol Cymbala, an expressive prayer for unity will help complete this smorgasbord of Christian music. The finale will be these two choirs’ signature song “Rejoice” by Kenneth W. Lewis with a festive handbell arrangement by Lucy Hurley.

The concert promises to be a very energetic, uplifting and fun-filled evening for the whole family. It is a kid-friendly performance. All are invited and admission is free.