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Notre Dame Folk Choir to host charitable Concert for the Missions

| Friday, November 17, 2017

The Notre Dame Folk Choir will perform their annual Concert for the Missions in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on Friday at 8 p.m. The concert benefits Yancana Huasy — an organization that assists families who have children with disabilities — through Holy Cross Missions, senior and Folk Choir social commissioner Greg Demet said.

“The Concert for the Missions is our annual event to raise proceeds for the Holy Cross Missions organization, and this will be our 24th year hosting the concert,” he said.

As the group’s only performance concert of the year, the Concert for the Mission places special emphasis on the organizations it benefits, senior and Folk Choir president Liam Maher said.

Located in Canto Grande, Peru — which contains a large impoverished population — Yancana Huasy supports families with disabled children because it is usually economically challenging to provide for their children here, Demet said.

“Our goal is to support these families financially, spiritually and socially,” he said. “We strive to give hope to families who have lost all hope by relieving them of significant economic burdens.”

Folk Choir director J.J. Wright said Yancana Huasy provides the Canto Grande community with services they need in order to live fuller lives.

“A child born with a disability is viewed as a curse in this community, which usually leaves the mothers to care for their children alone,” he said.

Canto Grande was built in landfill, and as a result contains a significantly poor population, Wright said.

“The Holy Cross brothers founded a parish here to build up the community,” he said. “The funds we raise through our concert are given to the Yancana Huasy organization, who chooses how to best use them.”

This year has especially focused on integrating Peruvian culture into the concert, Wright said.

“This year is exciting, because we have a particular focus on their work in Peru,” he said. “ … We’re striving to encounter Canto Grande’s cultural situation by learning music that is authentically Peruvian and South American in an effort to understand the people culturally.”

The concert will be set up in a Mass setting, Maher said, in order to increase the spirituality of the event.

“We approach the concert as a prayer-like experience,” he said. “We take time to reflect in between songs, hold the Mass completely in Spanish and have included some hymns and choral pieces that will make the music speak for itself. We want the concert’s music to make a connection between those who are listening and the Holy Cross Missions, rather than draw the connection physically.”

The Folk Choir has also invited Juan Pastor, a Peruvian musician, to help lead the performance, Wright said.

“Learning by performance is especially important in Peruvian culture, and Pastor has taught us the important aspects of the music found in between the lines,” he said. “ … Having someone provide us the gift of showing what music actually sounds like has been very enlightening.”

Maher said Pastor brought his expertise to help the Folk Choir learn to represent the Canto Grande people.

“He helped us approach the music from a culturally sensitive standpoint,” Maher said. “He’s connected a lot of the dots that we were unable to, simply because this has been such a new experience for us.”

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