Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Lake Nelson Adventist Academy, Gospel Benefit Concert Supports Families in Need, Harmony Choir, Gospel Benefit Concert, Rise Up

Gospel Benefit Concert Supports Families in Need

Story by Ashley Boggess

Partnering with teachers, parents, students and God, Lake Nelson Adventist Academy (LNAA) strives to prepare students to reach their God-given potential and engage in service for Him. The annual Gospel Benefit Concert in February provides an opportunity for students to put their abilities and service into practice.

At this year’s event, students showcased their talents through singing, playing instruments and interpretive dance, culminating Black History Month. Organizers included Elisa Maragoto, LNAA principal and New Jersey Conference superintendent of schools; Leah Ware, fourth-grade teacher and Angels of Praise and Living Proof Drum Corp director; and Anna-Gayle Hemmings, seventh-grade teacher and Stepping Team and Praise Team director.

The program featured performances from an array of artists, from the LNAA Praise Team, Stepping Team and Drumming Team to the LNAA orchestra and band, musicians, choirs, church groups, poetry readers and drama performers.

Since 2005, the community has joined the academy to help those in need through this concert. Ware says, “This Gospel Benefit Concert is more community and the world during a month that was set aside for service and helping others.”

With the theme “Rise Up,” the concert shared struggles from the pandemic and difficulties of life in general. The program began with a Parade of Nations, representing the diversity of the student body, an introduction and a word of prayer by seniors Arleny Luna, Student Association (SA) president, and Andrew Lightbody, SA chaplain and Martin Luther King Jr., reenactor.

Students told stories through song, interpretive dance, the spoken word, and reenactment of important speeches by prominent African Americans. Lauson Noel, senior class president, W. E. B. Du Bois reenactor, and member of various groups, shares, “I enjoyed using my talents in music. This event is a lot of fun.”

Senior Sabrina Maragoto, SA Social Events coordinator and Angels of Praise, Orchestra, Choir and Stepping Team member, says, “It feels fulfilling to perform one last time in this exciting concert and know that it is helping others.”

Each year, donations through free-will offerings and food sales are used to support a predetermined cause. Previous concerts have benefited survivors of Hurricane Katrina, the Philippine tsunami, and the fires in Paradise, Calif., and Australia. This year, LNAA families who have experienced significant tragedy were chosen to receive assistance. The academy raised approximately $2,000 to support these families. LNAA leaders thank God for His love and care and the community members for their incredible generosity.

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