New Century Chorale prepares for first concert

— New Century Chorale is back in rehearsal for its 2010-2011 season, and preparing for its first concert.

“A Harvest of Song,” which is always designed to celebrate life in America, also recognizes a fellow, nonprofit organization. In the past, the concert has been dedicated to the work of Carriage Town Ministries, Avalon Hospice, Genesee County Habitat for Humanity, Holy Family Outreach, Crossover Downtown Outreach Ministry and FISH of Grand Blanc.

This year, the concert will have a decidedly patriotic tone with selections such as “America the Beautiful,” “This is My Country” and “Torch of Liberty,” a compilation of other favorites. The overall theme is particularly fitting, as New Century Chorale has selected to salute the Great Lakes National Cemetery Advisory Council with this event.

The Great Lakes National Cemetery Advisory Council is a nonprofit group with representatives from all of the major veterans’ service organizations as well as other groups that support veterans’ issues. Their main purpose is the maintenance and provision of flags for the Avenue of Flags — a stirring display of 100 flags that line the road into the cemetery. Additionally, the council also supports the veteran groups providing military funeral honors for all of the veterans interred here at the cemetery. There are, on average, 10 burials each day.

The council also oversees various events such as services for Memorial Day and Veterans Day, Wreaths Across America and monument dedications. More specifically, the council provides all of the logistical support for the burials and services. This includes shelters, handicap access and escorts, busses and golf carts to ensure accessibility, comfort and safety for those attending. Further, due to the location of the cemetery, the honors guards are not able to leave the premises during the day. So, the council provides snacks, coffee, drinking water and other services to help them stay refreshed.

These are all necessary services, materials and equipment. But, they cannot be federally funded. Therefore, the council’s work is funded completely through donations.

“New Century Chorale became acquainted with the council when we began singing at the annual Veteran’s Day event in 2008,” said Greg Forsyth, vice president of New Century Chorale Board of Directors. “The event is always so moving and the cemetery is such a tribute to the brave men and women who defend our country — especially those who gave their lives gave their lives in that service. It is an honor to help raise awareness and funds for the Great Lakes National Cemetery Advisory Council. The members’ contribution are outstanding.”

“A Harvest of Song” is 4 p.m. Nov. 7 at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church, G-9020 S. Saginaw St. Tickets are $12 for adults, $8 for students and seniors, with a portion of the proceeds going to the Great Lakes National Cemetery Advisory Committee. Tickets will be available at the door beginning at 3:15 p.m.

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