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First UMC hosts Concert for Community Collaboration

SALISBURY — The FirstArts series of the Stanback Department of Sacred Music at First United Methodist Church will host its annual Concert for Community Collaboration on Sunday at Salisbury High School’s auditorium.

The 5 p.m. concert is free and open to the public.

Now in its 11th season, the concert has raised more than $150,000 for nonprofit organizations in Rowan County. This year’s concert beneficiary is Meals on Wheels of Rowan County. Concertgoers can make a contribution after the performance.

Previous beneficiaries have included Kiser Hospice House, Rowan Helping Ministries, One Church One Child, Food for Thought, Rowan Care Alliance (AIDS Care Service), and Family Crisis Council.

Matthew Brown, director of music and organist at First United Methodist Church, established the annual fundraiser as part of the church’s FirstArts concert series, which he founded in 2008.

“We are honored to be selected as this year’s beneficiary for this extraordinary concert,” said Cindy Fink, executive director of Meals on Wheels.

Brown said he chooses different organizations each year, some of which have lost funding and others that embody the collaborative spirit of the concert series.

“What impresses me most about this organization is how many people it engages. Meals on Wheels has a committed board of directors who supports a devoted staff and over 1,000 volunteers who devote countless hours connecting daily with many of our county’s most vulnerable citizens,” Brown said.

He said Meals on Wheels “collaborates with some of our most isolated and fragile citizens every day.”

Meals on Wheels serves 225 meals a day, Monday through Friday, across 27 routes that cover 511 square miles throughout Rowan County. Meals on Wheels relies volunteers.

The concert, sponsored by the music program of First United Methodist Church, will feature the North Carolina Brass Band under the direction of Brian Meixner.

The 28-member ensemble includes some of North Carolina’s finest brass players and percussionists, many of whom are symphony musicians, soloists, chamber music professionals, jazz artists, and professors at universities across the region.

Given the scope of this year’s concert, Brown said he thought the newly renovated Salisbury High School auditorium would be a perfect fit for the concert.

Through the support of local philanthropists Alice and Fred Stanback, the auditorium underwent a major renovation last year.

“A brass ensemble of this size offers a sonic experience like none other. It needs a large space for the sound to resonate and bloom in the room,” Brown said.

He said he’s grateful to Salisbury High Principal Luke Brown, who gave the church the opportunity to have the concert at the school.

Sunday’s concert is titled “Music From Around the World” and features arrangements of familiar tunes from “Amazing Grace” to music from popular movies that include “The Mask of Zorro” and “Ben Hur.”

“Brian Meixner has programmed a wonderful montage of music that will appeal to all ages and interests,” Brown said.

Members of the North Carolina Brass Band will also offer master classes to local band students in Rowan-Salisbury Schools today before the weekend concert.

“I am thrilled this concert provides an opportunity for our school’s young musicians to grow musically and experience a terrific concert, but more importantly, to also learn about citizenship and giving back to their community,” Brown said.

Meals on Wheels has volunteer positions for drivers, delivery greeters, team coordinators, daily coordinators, and site greeters. Volunteer applications are available online at mowrowan.org, at 704-633-0352 or during office hours Monday through Friday.

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