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Woodbury Chorus and Orchestra concert to benefit food shelf

The Woodbury Chorus and Orchestra will be holding "A Global Music Festival" April 7 at King of Kings Lutheran Church. The concert will serve as a fundraiser for Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf.

Woodbury's Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf has been a vital part of the community for 30 years.

The Woodbury Chorus and Orchestra has been a part of the community for almost as long.

The two organizations will be coming together April 7 for "A Global Music Festival" at King of Kings Lutheran Church.

The free concert will include music from around the world and will collect freewill donations for Christian Cupboard.

"It's a great thing on two fronts," said Greig Metzger, president of the Christian Cupboard Food Shelf board. "It's increasing awareness of the food shelf in general in the community while raising money for the food shelf.

"Plus, it's an opportunity to hear great music."

A community chorus

Woodbury Chorus and Orchestra (WCO) started in 1985 at King of Kings Lutheran Church as a small community choir.

Now the organization has grown to include 30 singers, 20 instrumentalists from around the Twin Cities and even have an auxiliary choir of 40 members in Renville County, Minn.

"It started out as a community chorus and it has expanded the community tremendously," WCO president Tom Foster said.

The WCO repertoire includes classical compositions, hymns, gospel and spiritual numbers, patriotic songs and sacred and secular music of the present day.

Since the very beginning, WCO collects freewill donations at all of its concerts for the food shelves in the community it is performing.

To date, WCO has collected more than $380,000 for food shelves throughout Minnesota.

This year alone, WCO will raise money for 12 different food shelves.

"There's a lot of hungry people in the community," Foster said. "A lot of people go to the food shelf that have just been dealt some bad cards."

Stocking the Cupboard

The WCO will perform 12-13 songs during its April 7 performance at King of Kings.

The songs come from all over world including South Africa, Asia, France, the British Isles, Scandinavia, Italy, Czech Republic, Mexico and the United States.

"We're singing stuff from everywhere," Foster said.

Foster said some of the pieces WCO will be performing have been challenging to learn since they are unfamiliar.

"There's one song from a French opera," he said, "and it has about 80,000 words a bar. That was challenging to just say the words."

Money raised during "A Global Music Festival" will help the Christian Cupboard restock shelves when not enough food is donated and will help it purchase perishable food items.

In addition to helping raise money for the Christian Cupboard, Metzger said the concert will also help raise awareness about the food shelf.

"Something like this creates awareness of our food shelf and the issue in and of itself," he said. "It's not only a local issue or a state issue, it's a national issue and people are surprised or not aware of that need.

Metzger will talk briefly before the concert about the Christian Cupboard.

"We're trying to put a face on the food shelf," Foster said.

Foster said he has no idea what type of attendance the concert will get, or how much money they will raise.

"We hope people have to stand in the back," he said. "We would love for the fire marshal to come and say 'You can't have this many people.'"

Woodbury Chorus and Orchestra's "A Global Music Festival" will be 4 p.m. April 7 at King of Kings Lutheran Church. Admission is free, but freewill offerings are encouraged for the Christian Cupboard Emergency Food Shelf.

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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