Bethel AME welcomes all to holiday concert


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Area residents are invited to renew their holiday spirit with the inspiring music of the Bethel AME Church Holiday Concert which will be held at 6 p.m. Dec. 13 at the church, 3 Waterworks Road, Freehold Township.

The Bethel AME (African Methodist Episcopal) Church has been part of the community for more than 60 years.

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The Dec. 13 concert will feature the Bethel AME Church Senior Choir performing traditional holiday music and selections from Handel’s “Messiah.” The Senior Choir and invited guest choir members will join their voices in harmony to present an amazing vocal experience, according to Cherisse R. Bonefont, senior choir director.

The Senior Choir sings on the first, third and fourth Sundays of the month. It is directed by Bonefont, who has been a member of the Bethel AME Church for more than 30 years. Bonefont attended Colorado State University and majored in vocal music performance and education.

Bonefont said she is continuing the tradition of the church’s concert series “to celebrate the birth of Christ, to showcase various types of music and to reach out to the community at large.”

She said her vision of community outreach is the same as that of the Rev. Ronald L. Sparks, who leads the congregation.

“In keeping with his vision, Rev. Sparks asked me and the Senior Choir to continue the holiday concert series as a way to have a safe, fun and free environment for people to come and enjoy themselves,” Bonefont said.

Sparks, who came to the church in April 2013, said he is “overjoyed that the Bethel AME Senior Choir and members of various church choirs across the state are coming together to present this magnificent piece of music.”

“This is an opportunity for us to work with other churches to come together during the holiday season,” the reverend added. “We want to be a focal point of the community, and not just during the holiday season, but throughout the year. The ‘Messiah’ gives us the opportunity to bring people into our church to share the holiday spirit. This a part of an ongoing effort to maintain a strong relationship within the community.”

Handel’s “Messiah” will be conducted by organist Brittany Montoro, who is the director of music ministries at the First United Methodist Church, Freehold Borough.

Members of the First United Methodist Church choir, Freehold Borough, and members of the Mount Olivet Baptist Church choir, Hightstown, will join the Bethel AME Church Senior Choir to perform the holiday concert.

Bonefont said Handel’s “Messiah” is a classical performance and will feature several soloists. Audience members will be invited to join in the singing of the Hallelujah Chorus.

“This concert will certainly be one you will not want to miss,” Bonefont said. “Not only will you enjoy the spirit of the Christmas season and the expertise of the performers, but it will be a free and warm environment for all who attend.”

For more information, visit Bethel AME Church on Facebook or call Bethel AME Church at 732-462-0826.


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