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It’s all about the music at Park University

The Northland Community Choir performs Sunday as a benefit for the Congress Middle School Music Program.
The Northland Community Choir performs Sunday as a benefit for the Congress Middle School Music Program. Photo provided

A concert about music — and for music — is coming to Park University Sunday afternoon.

The spring performance of the Northland Community Choir will benefit the Congress Middle School Music Program. Paul Erickson, artistic director of the community choir, says an honors choir from the middle school will join their older singing counterparts in lifting up a collection of songs that sing the praises of singing and making music.

“All of the music talks about music,” Erickson said. “It’s kind of like when Hollywood makes a movie about making movies.”

The Northland Community Choir is a non-audition choir that draws members from throughout the Kansas City area. It started 42 years ago when a group of 50 singers from 10 different Platte County churches joined for a special Thanksgiving event. The group, which consists of about 35 singers, is open to anyone who wants to participate and currently performs four times a year.

Each concert has a philanthropic focus, taking donations to benefit various organizations in the community. Recent concerts have benefited the Banneker School Restoration Project, the Family Promise of the Northland organization and Friends of Parkville Animal Shelter.

“It is a way our mission statement, ‘Making Music Matter,’ kind of plays itself out. We want to do music that is powerful not only for its impact as music, but also that makes a difference for the community,” Erickson said.

Congress Middle School vocal music teacher Francie Sipes says proceeds donated by the community choir after the concert will go to buy music at the school. The joint concert also gives her honors choir members the chance be exposed to how the arts are important outside of school, and see how singing can be a part of their future.

“It’s a great benefit for the kids to get to see. They can see how music builds the community. This might be something they do later in life. You don’t have to be a music major to enjoy music and make music,” Sipes said.

Erickson says the group always hopes to inspire, not only the middle-schoolers, but all people to continue to find ways to make music together.

“Hardly anyone sings together anymore,” Erickson said. “Fifty years ago people were singing together in groups all the time. Now, people hardly do it. We feel like we are a remnant of something, and that is something we put a lot of importance on.”

Six strings musicians from Park University’s International Center for Music will play with the group. The concert is funded in part through a Platte County Parks and Recreation grant.

“For Music” vocal music concert

Who: Northland Community Choir together with Congress Middle School Honor Choir

Where: Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel at Park University

When: 3 p.m. Sunday

Suggested donation: $10. Proceeds will go to benefit the Congress Middle School Music Program