Benefit Concert Raises Over $4K for Community Kitchens

3/4/2017
By Bob Kirk

WOODSTOCK-- The First Congregational Church of Woodstock held a benefit concert on Saturday, February 25th for Community Kitchens of Northeastern Connecticut featuring the Bluegrass Gospel Project.  The event netted over $4,000 from ticket sales, sponsorships, and a free will offering.
 
This was the second time in just eleven months that the Hill Church presented the Bluegrass Gospel Project in a benefit concert for Community Kitchens, and the second time the event sold out and raised over $4,000.
 
The capacity crowd responded enthusiastically to the expressive solos of singer-songwriter Colby Crehan, the group’s close harmonies, and their impeccable musicianship.  BGP performed many numbers from their just-released CD Delivered as well as old favorites including an a cappella rendering of “Precious Memories” and a bluegrass version of U2’s “Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”  After a standing ovation, the band returned to the stage for a two-song encore.
 
“It doesn't get any better," commented Bruce Lyman, a Woodstock Community Kitchen site coordinator and organizer of the event.  "We raised money for an important local non-profit while having the time of our lives enjoying terrific music by a great band.”
 
For BGP fans, the concert was bittersweet.  The group is disbanding after sixteen years of performing at bluegrass festivals, churches and granges, and other venues throughout New England.  They will be performing a farewell concert in their home state of Vermont later this month.
 
The Rev. Jocelyn Gardner Spencer, pastor of First Congregational Church of Woodstock, commented, "What a wonderful evening -- great music, great crowd, great cause!  We are proud to be part of the Community Kitchens network that provides gathering places for our community and care and support for people in need."
 
Community Kitchens of Northeastern Connecticut is a nonprofit organization that provides a hot noon-time meal each weekday at one of five locations in our region including the First Congregational Church of Woodstock on Mondays, the Living Faith United Methodist Church of Putnam on Tuesdays, the United Methodist Church of Danielson on Wednesdays, All Hallows Catholic Church of Moosup on Thursdays, and Moosup United Methodist Church on Fridays.  All meals are free and everyone is welcome.
 
The First Congregational Church of Woodstock partners with East Woodstock Congregational Church, South Woodstock Baptist Church, and Christ Church of Pomfret in providing the Monday meal, each church preparing and serving one meal each month.  Bread for Life, a nonprofit founded by Caryn Hallowell of Woodstock, covers fifth Mondays.  Baked goods are donated by Soleil & Suns Bakery, Java Jive, Stop & Shop, and Price Chopper, and fresh produce is donated by Big Y.
 
Community Kitchens of Northeastern Connecticut needs additional funds to continue its mission of addressing food insecurity and providing places where seniors and others can find community and companionship.  Donations may be sent to Community Kitchens of Northeastern Connecticut, P.O. 502, Danielson, CT 06239.
 
Photo by Jim Goodwin.