On Centre | Around Bellefonte: Choral performance from Essence of Joy groups will benefit African church

If you ever get a chance to see three nationally renowned choirs perform right in your own backyard, seize that opportunity.

Especially if the performance is for a good cause.

On Nov. 30, the three Penn State Essence of Joy choral ensembles — the original Essence of Joy, Essence 2 and the Essence of Joy alumni singers — will perform the Give Us This Day concert at the Bellefonte Area High School to benefit ministries and education efforts in Africa.

The show is part of the ministry of the Faith United Methodist Church on Hughes Street in Bellefonte, church member Linda Hoffman said.

“Several years ago when we put a new roof on the church, we decided we wanted to tithe 10 percent of the roof money and give it to another needy church,” she said.

Through the Sierra Leone Initiative and the United Methodist Church, the congregation was put in touch with the Mango Brown Memorial United Methodist Church in Sierra Leone and Bishop John Yambasu, who oversees the country’s United Methodist churches.

Both Faith and Mango Brown have fish hatcheries, nearby universities that teach agriculture and other similarities that fostered the ties between the sister churches, Hoffman said.

Money was first sent for well drilling in Sierra Leone and other areas, she said. Bishop Yambasu visited Faith United Methodist in Bellefonte in 2013 as the congregation was preparing to ship a truck to help with the wells.

After Yambasu’s visit, Penn State music professor Anthony Leach came to the church with the alumni singers, Hoffman said.

“Between the two of us,” she said, “we came up with the idea to do a benefit. Something on a grander scale than could be handled in a church.”

Each choir will perform about four pieces, she said, with all choirs coming together at the end to perform the final four songs.

“I think it’s one of the first times all three choirs will sing together,” Hoffman said.

Give Us This Day tickets are on sale now for $10 at All seating is reserved. The show is slated to begin at 2:30 p.m.