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Folk Choir concert to raise funds for Holy Cross Missions

| Friday, October 9, 2015

The talent and range of the Notre Dame Folk Choir will be on full display Friday evening at its annual charity event, the Concert for the Missions.

The Concert for the Missions is an annual concert held in order to raise money for Holy Cross Missions, a foreign mission established by the Congregation of Holy Cross. Folk Choir president Ellyn Milan, a senior at Saint Mary’s, said it is the premier fall event for the choir.

“It’s a way for people to engage in prayer and song in a unique way with a unique focus,” Folk Choir senior secretary Marisa Thompson said.

According to the Congregation of Holy Cross’s website, the congregation began sending missionaries to international locations as early as 1840, just three years after its founding. As of now, Holy Cross has missions in several international locations, including Chile, East Africa, Peru, Mexico and Bangladesh.

Milan said she estimates that over the years the concert has raised more than $100,000 for the Missions. Though she said she could not predict how much money the choir will earn this year, Milan said she is optimistic the funds will provide significant aid to the Missions.

The money collected from the concert will be used by Holy Cross Missions to help needy children on three different continents.

Milan said this event, which has been a part of the Folk Choir’s schedule for more than 22 years, began as a result of the choir’s desire to promote its goals of giving and outreach.

The choir also has a special connection with the Missions, Milan said, as choir director Steve Warner holds personal relationships with many Holy Cross priests who have dedicated their lives to the Mission’s effort overseas.

She said the music played at the concert each year varies according to the concert’s theme. This year, the choir drew inspiration from the visit of Pope Francis to the United States. As a result, Milan said, the name of this year’s concert is “In the Words of Pope Francis.”

Thompson said the songs are taken directly from the choir’s repertoire or pieces written by the choir’s director.

“We have quite a bit of music that has to deal with creation, the beauty of creation and songs about peace and unity.” Thompson said.

In addition to the support it provides to the Missions, the concert also holds a special place in the hearts of its performers, Milan said. She said she chose to join the Folk Choir after attending the concert her freshman year.

“That resultant decision [to join] has been one of the most profound of my life,” Milan said. “The Concert for the Missions is our biggest event of the fall semester and a way to share with the larger community the joy we find with each other in song. It is a beautiful way of using the gifts we have been given by God for a really good cause.”

The 22nd annual Concert for the Missions will be held at 8 p.m. in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Admission is free and open to the public.

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