For the third year running, New Paltz’s Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church will be hosting a Christmastime Benefit Concert for Family of Woodstock, Inc. next Friday evening, December 11. Titled “Hark! A Thrilling Voice is Sounding!” the musical event will feature the acoustic quartet Betty and the Baby Boomers, bluesman Big Joe Fitz, Debbie Lan’s Rosendale-based women’s vocal ensemble Bloom and the fourth- and fifth-graders of the Mountain Laurel Youth Choir.
“Our pastor, Tobias Anderson, is going to be performing too,” says the church’s community coordinator, Erich Markert. “He was part of a music ministry called Faithful Folk, and put out a CD of Christmas music with some great musicians from the New York City area. But in the last year he has been doing more solo work, mostly singing gospel music.”
The Christmas musical extravaganza is an annual production of New Paltz Musicales, an ongoing program based at the church. “It’s been a concert series that I’ve helped manage since about 2006. We have a concert about every other month,” Markert explains. “We have a great acoustic space and comfortable seating, so it seemed a shame not to share that with others.” He adds that the church will also host a jazz/gospel music service on Sunday morning, December 13 beginning at 8:45 a.m., including pianist William Norman and upright bassist Robert Bard along with Pastor Anderson’s vocals.
The family-friendly Friday-night concert begins at 7 p.m. on December 11 at Redeemer Lutheran, which is located at 90 Route 32 South in New Paltz. “We expect to be done by 9 — unless everyone gets really enthusiastic,” says Markert. “There will be light refreshments during the intermission, some of them donated by My Market.”
Admission is by donation, with $15+ suggested for adults and $5+ for kids aged 12 and under. No one will be turned away if they can’t afford the price, but as Markert points out, “100 percent of the donations at the door will be given to Family of Woodstock, so we’re encouraging people to be generous.”