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International Concert and Dinner at Willow Grove Church Benefit for Local Food Banks and Global Hunger Projects

Jill Segulin

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 • 8:30am

At the 8th Annual International Dinner and Concert at Willow Grove Presbyterian Church in Scotch Plains, people can enjoy international cuisine and listen to vocal and instrumental music from China while providing food for neighbors in need. This annual event will be held on Saturday, March 15, from 5 pm to 8 pm.

Half of the funds raised will be donated to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey in Hillside and half will be donated to Heifer Project International for their work to end poverty and hunger around the world. The International Dinner in Ryno Hall will feature an array of ethnic specialties, including Italian, Chinese, Greek, German, Korean, Scottish, Irish, English, West Indian and Polish.

The dishes will be made by members and friends of Willow Grove Church. Complementing the cuisine will be performances by the Chinese American Music Ensemble (CAME) Adult Chorus and Children’s Chorus and the Music From China Youth Orchestra. Both groups hold their weekly rehearsals at Willow Grove Church. The Music From China Youth Orchestra features young musicians who perform on authentic Chinese instruments. The orchestra performs an annual concert at Carnegie Hall, and has played at the Freer Gallery of Art at the Smithsonian Institute and toured Shanghai.

The Chinese American Music Ensemble (CAME) is the only choral program in New Jersey that offers choral music training for children and adults at the same time and place. CAME seeks to enrich and broaden cultural horizons through music training and provide community service through concert performances. According to Willow Grove’s Pastor, Reverend Cynthia Cochran-Carney, the International Dinner is an annual event at Willow Grove Church that reflects the vision of the church. "Helping neighbors near and far who are in need is central to our Christian faith, so each year we raise money for organizations that provide basic needs of food, shelter and disaster relief. Willow Grove Church has a growing Ministry of Music and the Arts from a variety of traditions and cultures. God has shown us ways we can build bridges of hope and understanding that involve people of all ages making music together. This is the reason we are home to many musical groups and events, including Music From China and CAME. You will not want to miss these inspiring and exciting musicians and singers! You can enjoy all of this and then sample food entrees and desserts from around world." Funds raised will be given to local and international organizations that Willow Grove Church supports with volunteers and donations. Youth and adults from the church volunteer six Saturdays a year at the NJ Community Food Bank in Hillside, sorting food and packing boxes to be distributed to food banks throughout the state. In July 2014, the Willow Grove youth group and adults will be traveling to the Heifer Project International Farm in Rutland, MA for a 5 day Global Getaway mission project experience.

Tickets for dinner and concert are $13 for adults and teens, $6 for children 6 to 12, free for children 5 and under, with a family maximum of $35. To guarantee a seat for the dinner, buy a ticket in advance because space is limited. Tickets will only be available at the door if seats are not already sold out. Purchase tickets by calling the church office at (908) 232-5678, Monday to Friday from 9 am to 1 pm. More information is available by email at office@willowgrovechurch.org or on the website at www.willowgrovechurch.org.

The Willow Grove Presbyterian Church is located at 1961 Raritan Road in Scotch Plains, opposite the Scotch Plains Southside Firehouse and near the corner of South Martine Avenue. All church facilities are handicap-accessible and there is on-site parking.

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