A musical celebration, “Voices for Hope and Health: A Concert with a Cause,” is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 21, 4 p.m., First Church of Christ Sanctuary, 680 Hopmeadow St., Simsbury.
The concert will feature organ, piano, vocal and choir performances in several musical styles, including jazz, pop, classical, gospel and contemporary.
Admission is free but donations will be encouraged for the Faith Mulira Health Care Center, Inc., a Simsbury-based, non-profit that supports a clinic located in Masooli, Uganda, a rural village located on the outskirts of Kampala, the nation’s capital.
The First Church of Christ has given financial assistance and more to the clinic, which has provided health-care services and education for more than 2,100 patients since opening its doors in 2011. At least 60 percent of the residents of Masooli suffer from malaria and do not have access to clean drinking water.
Musicians at the October event include former Simsbury-resident Dan Campolieta, Organist and Associate Music Director for Asylum Hill Congregational Church in Hartford. He has performed professionally on organ as well jazz and classical piano, and is a respected composer of jazz and classical chamber music. Campolieta, who now lives in West Hartford, will include some pieces from his recently released CD, Guided Imagery.
Vocalist Marques Jerrell Ruff, of East Hartford, is a gifted
baritone who has performed both locally and internationally. He earned a degree in vocal performance at Central Connecticut State University, where he founded the Central A Cappella Society and the college’s first all male a cappella group. Ruff is a choir-section leader at Asylum Hill Congregational Church.
First Church Women’s Praise Choir is a close harmony treble choir with a repertoire that includes spirituals, folk, classical, jazz, gospel, contemporary Christian and “a little bit rock ‘n roll.” The choir is led by Mark Mercier, Director of Music Ministries at First Church, a founding member of the Collinsville Music Coalition and keyboardist of the regional rock band, “Max Creek.”
Refreshments will be served following the performances.
“This concert is rich with musical talent and we’re excited to bring this event to the community,” said Simsbury-resident Gordon Crouch, long-time member of First Church. He and his wife, Nancy, were instrumental in co-founding the Faith Mulira Health Care Center.
“We’re also hoping to raise funds so we can reach out to more women and children living in Masooli,” Crouch said. “Many of these women don’t get the care they need during pregnancy and childbirth. The consequences can be devastating for them and their children.”
He noted that in 2008, approximately 5,200 Ugandan women died from pregnancy-related causes, primarily due to lack of access to health-care services.
“If we can save the life of one woman then our work is valuable,” he said. “She can lead a healthy, productive life, go to school, learn a trade, contribute to her village and make sure her children get educated.”
Crouch added: “We take a lot for granted here in the United States when it comes to basic medical services. Our clinic is just scratching the surface in terms of need, but it is making a difference in so many lives.”
The Faith Mulira Health Care Center was named after Faith Mulira, a nurse born in Masooli and created a makeshift clinic to service the poor and indigent. She was forced to leave her village and immigrate to America during the brutal reign of Idi Amin.
Decades later, Mulira returned to Masooli and spent several years working with partners in the First Church and others to create a modern medical facility. Now age 88, she lives in Uganda and visits the clinic several times a month.
For more information, go to www.masooliproject.org