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Festival choir concert to help out food pantry


A way to pass the time traveling to a family vacation turned into an almost 30-year-old musical tradition in the area.

Now those behind that tradition are hoping it can bring in much needed funding for the soon-to-open Downtown Churches Food Pantry in Ironton.

“The family was going on a vacation and I had purchased audio tapes of different kinds of music,” Dr. Wayne Young, pastor of First United Methodist Church of Ironton, recalled. “One of them was a festival choir tape.”

Young’s wife, Judith, already sang in the choir at a Methodist Church in Portsmouth and Young would fill in at church choirs in the area.

“There were so many good voices around,” he said. “We thought how great it would be to sing in a great choir like what was on that tape.”

So the Youngs sent out invitations to area Methodist churches that they wanted to start a festival choir. Those responses to those invitations turned into the first Scioto County Festival Choir, now in its 28th year. Then after the fledgling choir performed, even more singers wanted to join.

“We had a great response after we had sung a couple of times,” Young said. “People would say ‘I am not a Methodist but can I sing in your choir? Last time we counted there have been 30 different churches and at least a dozen different denominations participating.”

On Saturday the Scioto festival choir will perform in a worship concert Saturday at 7 p.m. at the First United Methodist in Ironton.

The concert will feature a variety of religious music including “I Love You, Lord,” “It Is Well With My Soul,” “Soon We Will See” and “A New Day Dawning.”

The concert is free. However, a love offering will be taken to go toward the new Downtown Churches Food Pantry managed by First Methodist. Interior construction continues on the project at its new location on Fifth and Railroad streets.

“We are finishing up inside electrical work and air conditioning,” Young said.

“The goal is to have the pantry open this summer We are looking for someone to run it. We need someone who can do the day-to-day operation, write grants, help raise funds and act as a contact for other organizations and programs in the area.”

With its new location organizers are hoping to extend the hours of operations from three to five days a week.

“We would like to be open more than we are and be open one evening,” Young said.

Anyone interested in supporting the food pantry or applying for the director’s job can contact Young at the church at 532-1196.