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Benefit concert inspires many to show compassion

Four dedicated clergy joined their talents and musical voices to raise awareness and funds for war-torn Haiti.

PREECEVILLE — Four very talented local members of the ministerial have banded together to help support the needy in their time of financial need. Father Andrew Sowa of the Sturgis Roman Catholic Church, Bob Drayer of Sturgis, Interdenominational faith, Rev. David Mugadzi of the Trinity United Church and Pastor Hein Bertram of the Preeceville Lutheran Church lent their voices and musical talent in a benefit concert for Haiti on April 30 at the Preeceville Trinity United Church.

The quartet performed various musical selections on instruments that included the harpsichord, piano, as well as music by Purcell and Stanley on the flugelhorn with a church organ accompaniment.

Bob Drayer was on the stage first as he played a piano solo to Gymnopeic No. 1 by Erik Satie. He also performed two more piano solos, To a Wild Rose and the Maple Leaf Rag. He then played the harpsichord organ to the music of Corranto and Daunce.

Hein Bertram played the baritone accompanied by Drayer on piano as they performed We Gather Together. They also banded together with Bertram on the flugelhorn and Drayer on organ to play a Trumpet Voluntary.

David Mugadzi gave a prayer for peace.

Andrew Sowa, Bob Drayer and Hein Bertram combined their voices for an outstanding performance of How Great Thou Art.

Hein Bertram performed three accordion numbers: Two Dutch Sea Shantie, An excerpt from Symphony No. 6 Pastoral and West Zuidwest van Ameland.

Bertram and Mugadzi sang a duet to Ash Grove.

Sowa, Drayer and Bertram concluded the afternoon concert with a powerful Amazing Grace performance.

Everyone in attendance was invited to stay for lunch, refreshments and fellowship.

Pastor Joseph Joseph from Haiti was thrilled with the warm support that the Haiti benefit concert brought in for his country.

“My name is Pastor Joseph Nicolas Joseph and I am educated in Theology and Christian Education. I am the founder of Premiere Source Christian School since 2011. I am married and have a family of three children: my adopted son, Berthony and two born children, Victoria, 13 years and Andy, 12. My wife Clermande and I are dedicated to serve the poorest people in Jeremie as best we can and teach them to do God's will.

“I am leading a congregation in the village of Premiere Source with many poor families. In September, right after the earthquake in Port au Prince, we founded a school for orphans because so many children had lost both their parents. This year the school now contains 375 children, from preschool through high school. These recent months we have received lots of children who came from Port au Prince after the gangs had run them off. Our town of Premiere Source is a small village in Jeremie, Grand Anse, Haiti. We have good people, but not many resources, and the needs are great and big. The present situation with the gangs makes things very complicated in getting the help these children need,” he concluded.

“I have been a friend of Pastor Joseph now for 19 years,” stated Bob Drayer, one of the organizers. “I met him via a friend who went to Haiti to volunteer after a hurricane, an earthquake, and another hurricane. She is British and had worked with Mother Teresa in Calcutta. She introduced us and I found Pastor Joseph to be a truly stand-up kind of guy, starting at dawn and going well after sunset serving the desperately poor in his area.

“He has never asked for a cent the entire time I have known him. But people in this community urged me on to raise money for his cause. Numerous organ concerts were given, but now we have the support of several more pastors which brings in the interest of all our denominations.

“The first project we completed for the folks in Premiere Source was to send a water filter that would remove cholera from their drinking water, as several adults and children had died of the disease. Since that filter was delivered, not one person has had the disease. And since our money goes a bit further in Haiti, our contributions actually help them in times of trouble, such as they are experiencing now. Again, all the pastors and I thank you for your love and concern for these fine people in their struggles,” concluded Drayer

The fundraiser was open to the public with a free-will offering accepted as well as any other monetary donations, with all monies directly going towards the Haiti fund.

According to information shared at the event, Haiti has been thrown into a state of crisis through extreme poverty, violence and political instability where the people, and especially the children in crucial need of medical supplies and food.

Haiti’s governance remains paralyzed by a presidential assassination and violent civil unrest. Economic instability combined with political turmoil and gang violence have led to a compounded crisis in Haiti. As a result, the country is currently facing widespread disruptions to critical resources such as food, clean water and shelter. Emergency support is required for children and families in Haiti who have been displaced or affected by the unrest and violence, ensuring that they have access to these critical resources at a time when they are needed most.