Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

February 21, 2013

Praise, awareness the goal of event

Lee Ward
The Independent

ASHLAND — Praising God and drumming up awareness and support for a community agency is the mission of a musical event scheduled for Saturday at the Paramount Arts Center.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for Hillcrest-Bruce Mission’s Church Choir Festival, which gets under way at 7 p.m., as the Grassland Community Church’s Praise Team performs. A welcome from H. Randy Loschert, Hillcrest-Bruce Mission executive director, will follow. The program will include performances from choirs from Ashland First United Methodist, First Baptist Russell, Wildwood First Church of God, Grassland and Unity Baptist, the mission’s preschool choir and a quartet from Wildwood First Church of God.

Loschert said there was no festival during 2012.

“There was only one Saturday night available at the Paramount last year and we took that and it turned out that three of the choirs couldn’t be there that evening,” he said. “Then, there was a fourth in question. The date just didn’t work out for the choirs.”

At that time of year, he said choirs were busy working on Christmas music and February seemed like a better time for the festival, which typically raises between $4,500 and $5,000 for the mission’s operations budget.

The festival works well as a fundraiser, but it also serves another important purpose for the mission at 1819 Eloise St.

“Initially, the mission was looking for a fundraiser, but we had a lot of people in the community who didn’t know a lot about the mission or where we were or that we existed,” Loschert said. The event brought the mission to the attention of other churches and individuals in the area and many eventually joined the five original Methodist churches that started the mission as regular supporters.

“It’s really been a good thing,” Loschert said. “It’s a night of wonderful music, different types of music — praise and worship music and more traditional music. Different choirs have different styles and it all blends together that night.”

This weekend’s event will be dedicated to the memory of Elsie Worthington, a music-loving volunteer who was on the mission’s board of directors for decades.

The event is sponsored by a grant from ArtsReach of Kentucky through the PAC.

LEE WARD can be reached at lward@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2661.