2015 Alcona GospelFest

Saturday, April 25, 2015
First United Methodist Church

Lynn VanderLinde, left, first brought the idea of an Alcona GospelFest to the Inspiration Alcona Board. She recruited Jean Wilson, right, a founding director of the One Voice Gospel Choir in Saline, to lead local singers.
Practice for the evening concert began about 12:30 in the afternoon. Here Lynn and Jean are getting everyone in place to start.
Susan Armstrong accompanied the practice, and later the performance, on the piano.
Jean proved to be a dynamic director for the choir.
The choir was also accompanied by bass guitar and drums during practice, which ended about 5 p.m. when all the performers went to the soup-and-pie dinner the church prepared. The public was also invited to the supper.
About 6:15 p.m., when the dinner concluded, the sanctuary began to fill.
The first songs were sung by the duo of Gail Leeseberg and Sandy Cholewa.

Kimberly Makela impressed the audience with her outstanding voice.
Jack Williams, a retired pastor now raising money for food pantries and the like, followed Kimberly Makela with two songs.
Laura Frawley closed the first half of the concert with two of her own songs.
Jean Wilson played keyboard while she directed the choir.
Among the songs the choir sung were “Freedom is Coming,” “I Believe in the Power of God,” “More than Enough” and “Yonder Come Day.”
“Unity,” a tradition for the One Voice Gospel Choir that Jean Wilson helped found in 1989, was the first song sung by the choir.
Each choir member sang from music enclosed in a bright yellow folder.
Jeremy Smith of Gaylord on percussion and Jerrith Clewley of Alpena on bass guitar were important contributors to the sound at the concert.
The choir did a remarkable job in just a few hours. They sounded terrific.
Monte Jahnke, above, and Karen Thompson sang solos during “He Never Failed Me Yet.”
To close the concert, the audience stood to join the singing of “How Great Thou Art.”
The Inspiration Alcona board members who put this event together, Lynn VanderLinde, left, and Laura Frawley, were delighted at the public response.

The 2015 Alcona GospelFest was blessed with an ecumenical choir of 37 local residents. The audience numbered 166, for a total attendance of 203 people.

Director Jean Wilson of Saline, Michigan, led the ecumenical choir. She is also a founding director of the One Voice Gospel Choir based in Saline.

First United Methodist Church of Harrisville hosted. Its men's and women's service groups provided a much-appreciated soup and pie supper. Though the mealtime began with dozens of soup choices, latecomers had but a few options because the crowd was so large.

Inspiration Alcona is glad to bring such cultural events to our county and thanks everyone who turned out to sing, to eat or to listen to the music.

Photographer Ted Fines supplied the images above, for which he has our special thanks.

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First United Methodist Church is at 217 N. State Street in Harrisville.

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