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Charity concert for Good Shepherd Clinic on Sunday

By Joel Hall

jhall@news-daily.com

After a successful run last year, the Southern Crescent Symphony Orchestra will host a charity concert for the Good Shepherd Clinic in Morrow for a second time.

On Sunday, Dec. 2 at 3 p.m., at the Clayton County Performing Arts Center, the SCSO, the Atlanta Festival Ballet, the Starr's Mill High School Chanticleer Choir and the Union Grove High School Concert Choir will present "Sounds of the Season."

Proceeds from ticket sales will go to the operations budget of the Good Shepherd Clinic.

Tickets are available for purchase during the Morrow Business and Tourism Authority's "Christmas in the Park," this Saturday afternoon at Milton Daniel Park -- located behind Morrow City Hall -- as well as at the Clayton County Performing Arts Center -- at 2530 Mt. Zion Parkway in Jonesboro -- on the night of the concert.

Tickets are $10 for seniors and students aged 12 and up, $12 for adults, and $5 for children aged 6-11. Children aged five and under will be admitted free.

The concert will feature familiar holiday favorites, such as excerpts from Peter Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite" and George Händel's "Messiah," as well as several popular Christmas pieces. Guest soloists from Clayton State University's vocal program also will perform.

Next to its Tomato Sandwich Party fund-raiser in August, the concert is the clinic's second-biggest fund-raising effort, bringing in close to $1,700 in proceeds last year. The money is vital to the operation of the clinic, which runs entirely on public donations throughout the year, said Lisa Page, interim administrator at the clinic.

"Every dollar that is donated, we turn that into about $10 worth of medical care," said Page. "I like that the symphony and the director donate their time. I think it's a way to blend the sprit of Christmas with the spirit of charity."

Richard Bell, who is the founder of the SCSO, has served as its conductor for 16 years. He also has attended First Baptist Church of Morrow -- the church which oversees the Good Shepherd Clinic -- for the last ten years. He saw the concert as a way to give back to the community.

"This clinic is just a wonderful program offered to folks who have true needs," said Bell. The concert is "a chance for us to give back to the community every year. It's reaching a different audience than the Tomato Sandwich Party," he added.

Bell stepped in as the church's interim music director, after the previous director retired this summer, said Bert Watkins, administrator of First Baptist Church of Morrow and treasurer of the Good Shepherd Clinic.

"He knew the clinic was trying to raise money," last year, said Watkins. "[Bell] sat in on a board of directors meeting and said 'I think I have a way to make money.' He's been a great help."

Bell said he expects this year's concert will duplicate the success of the one held last year.