Concerts with a Cause help church fulfill mission

Concerts with a Cause has raised more than $70,000 for area nonprofits since its inception in 2003.

The free concerts, sponsored by St. John United Methodist Church, began when the church's Dobson organ, opus 78, was installed, said Jamie Council Garvey, organist and director of music.

"We were excited about having this instrument in our church, and we wanted people to hear it in different ways," she said. "At the same time, I believe that music should be a vehicle to something larger than us.

''We wanted to ensure that whatever we did, that we also remembered what the ultimate social mission of the church is."

Organizations that have benefited from the concerts in the past include the Heritage Academy, SafeHomes of Augusta, Golden Harvest Food Bank and the United Methodist Children's Home.

Each fall, members of the church and the community donate thousands of dollars for the concerts, she said. Six concerts are being offered in the 2008-09 series.

"That allows people to come see the concerts for free," she said. "It also allows for 100 percent of the money donated during the concert to go to the cause."

More than $11,000 has been raised in this season's four previous concerts.

"The miracle each year is that the giving exactly matches the need," she said. "To me, that says we are doing what we are supposed to do -- help our community meet its needs."

The next concert, featuring The Atlanta Sacred Chorale, will be held Sunday and will benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Augusta.

"Over the seasons, we have been able to hear very exciting music from various groups. This one is going to be just as exciting," Mrs. Garvey said. "The conductor is Eric Nelson. He knows how to bring that spiritual feeling alive through musicianship."

The season will end in March with a performance by the Manhattan Piano Trio with Eugenia Zukerman.

For more information about Concerts with a Cause, visit www.stjohnaugusta.org.

Reach Nikasha Dicks at (706) 823-3336 or nikasha.dicks@augustachronicle.com.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Concerts with a Cause: The Atlanta Sacred Chorale


WHEN: 4 p.m. Sunday


WHERE: St. John United Methodist Church, 736 Greene St.


COST: Free; people may donate to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Augusta


INFORMATION: (706) 724-9641


WHAT: Concerts with a Cause: The Manhattan Piano Trio with Eugenia Zukerman


WHEN: 3 p.m. March 8


WHERE: St. John United Methodist Church, 736 Greene St.


COST: Free; people may donate to benefit Child Enrichment


INFORMATION: (706) 724-9641


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