Michael Allen Harrison concert benefits Zarephath
Popular Portland-based pianist Michael Allen Harrison will play for other people's supper at an upcoming concert that will benefit Gresham's nonprofit Zarephath Kitchen and Pantry.
"I'm looking forward to this," Harrison told the Outlook. "I love to play the piano. It's my favorite thing in life."
The concert will be from 7-9 p.m. Saturday, May 4, at Mountainview Christian Church 1890 N.E. Cleveland Ave. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. Advance tickets are available on Evenbrite or from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays at St. Henry Catholic Church, 346 N.W. First St.
Julian Spires, a Zarephath volunteer helping to organize the concert, said last year's performance was special.
"What a wonderful and memorable evening. If you did not attend last year, you owe it to yourself to attend this year," he said.
Spires added, "It felt kind of like having your best friend over to perform."
This is the second year of the event. Last year's concert raised $7,000 for the local nonprofit.
Zarephath Ministries has no paid staff and is run entirely by volunteers.
Zarephath has helped feed struggling families and unhoused people in the Gresham area for more than 20 years.
The group serves a free hot lunch Monday through Friday, totaling more than 40,000 meals per year.
It also has a food pantry, open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, that provides a three-day supply of groceries for struggling folks living east of Northeast 181st Avenue. Families can visit four times a year. It provides more than 12,000 individual three-day food supplies each year.
Pianist Harrison said he hasn't yet decided on his program for the concert.
"I'm a composer, so I play mostly my own compositions. But I also play some of my favorites composers such as Gershwin, Beethoven and Chopin. There may be some jazz tunes. And, for the kids I'll play something from Charlie Brown," Harrison says.
Spires said last year, Harrison stayed and spoke with people about his music.
Harrison plays multiple benefit concerts every year. He also organizes and performs in the popular "10 Grands" concert series, which benefits his Snowman Foundation and provides instruments and support for music education for children who might not be able to afford it otherwise.
Says Harrison: "I think of myself as a member of the community and I'm just doing my part."
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