The EMU Chamber Singers and a Lancaster, Pennsylvania quartet, Beyond Ourselves, will team together to provide a benefit concert for an Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Seed of Hope project. Nouridine (left) and Amado, two children who benefit from MCC's project, draw their homes at a monthly MCC meeting. Photo by MCC/Emily J. Matthews

EMU Chamber Singers Join Lancaster Area Musicians to Support MCC

The Eastern Mennonite University (EMU) Chamber Singers are teaming up with the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, quartet Beyond Ourselves, to present their sixth benefit concert on Sunday, March 10, 2013, at 3 p.m. at Mount Joy Mennonite Church.

The concert will aid the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Seed of Hope Project in Burkina Faso, West Africa. Supported by MCC’s Global Family program, Seed of Hope began as a response to AIDS in the community. Today, it is focusing on helping Burkinabè children orphaned due to this pandemic. It aims to improve the nutrition, health, safety, well-being and educational standing of the orphans and increase their chances of community acceptance.

“Our program includes choral music and congregational singing, focused on the Psalms, and on God’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven,” said Kenneth J. Nafziger, director of the EMU Chamber Singers. The March 10 concert is the final performance in the choir’s spring tour.

The concert will also include a piece by Simon Andrews, a world-recognized composer who wrote the music specifically for Beyond Ourselves and the EMU Chamber Singers.

“Music by Eric Whitacre, Dan Forrest and from South Africa, including spirituals, will be also be performed,” said Nafziger.

All proceeds raised through a free-will offering will support the Seed of Hope project.

More about the musicians

Beyond Ourselves

The four-person Beyond Ourselves chamber ensemble promotes the global work of MCC with benefit concerts, highlighting a specific region or need each year.

Rosemary Siegrist Blessing is on the piano faculty at the Lancaster Conservatory of Music and teaches piano through the non-credit lesson program at Franklin and Marshall College. She is artistic director of the Mennonite Children’s Choir of Lancaster and serves as minister of music at Landis Valley Christian Fellowship.

Doris Hall-Gulati is principal clarinetist for the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia and bass clarinetist of the Opera Company of Philadelphia. She is artist in residence at Franklin & Marshall College.

Christy Heatwole Kauffman, violist, performs with the Lancaster and Reading symphonies, the Allegro Chamber Orchestra of Lancaster, and the Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival.

Ryan Kauffman, saxophonist and husband of Christy, is a faculty member at Darlington Arts Center. He is an active recitalist and leads his own jazz quartet in performances throughout the Central Pa. region.

EMU Chamber Singers

This select choir of 25 mixed voices studies and performs choral literature of various periods, styles and cultures at EMU. Five of the vocalists are from the Lancaster/Lebanon area.

Kenneth J. Nafziger directs the Chamber Singers. In addition to his EMU course load, he is artistic director and conductor of the annual Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival and directs several other Virginia chamber choirs. He was music editor of “Hymnal: A Worship Book” (1992) and has edited numerous other song books.

The Chamber Singers spring break tour:

Contact EMU church relations at 540-432-4589 or email for more information.

Simon Andrews

Simon Andrews, director of music at Highland Presbyterian Church, Lancaster, was born in England and educated at Christ Church, Oxford, the Royal Academy of Music and the University of California at Berkeley.

Winner of the 1985 Benjamin Britten International Composition Prize, his music has been featured at the Aldeburgh and St. Alban’s Festivals, broadcast on BBC radio and widely performed in the London, Oxford and San Francisco areas, as well as New York, Boston and Baltimore and also France, Australia, Africa and China.

Locally, he has served as music director of the Harrisburg Choral Society and held faculty positions at Franklin & Marshall College and Millersville University.

For more information about this year’s concert, call 717-291-0514.