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LDS, Catholics blend choirs to gather food for area needy

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A gift of food for hungry families in Johnson County, Kan., was wrapped in Christmas music at two weekend concerts featuring the 120-voice Heart of America Mormon Choir and choirs from two Roman Catholic congregations. The concerts were performed to collect food for Catholic Charities Inc. in south Kansas City.

The first concert was Friday, Dec. 11, at the Church of the Nativity in Leawood, Kan. The second was Sunday, Dec. 13, at Prince of Peace in Olathe, Kan. Both concerts performed to standing-room-only audiences totaling 2,500 people.

While the musical programs varied, each concert featured individual performances by a youth choir, adult choir and the Heart of America Mormon Choir. For the grand finale, the choirs combined 175 vocalists to sing "The Holly and the Ivy," "Do You Hear What I Hear," "See Amid the Winter's Snow," and "For unto Us a Child Is Born."

The power of the concert was felt when the congregations joined the choirs to sing a medley of Christmas carols: "Joy to the World," "Angels We Have Heard on High," "Good Christians, All Rejoice," and "Silent Night."

As the audiences left the concerts, they praised the concerts with words such as "powerful," "beautiful," "humbling," "This is what Christmas is all about," and, as one man said, "Isn't it marvelous to see Mormons and Catholics singing together?"

This is the third year that the LDS Church has worked with Catholic Charities to stock the shelves at Emergency Assistance Centers operated by Catholic Community Services in Johnson County. This year's concert-goers donated two tons of food as their "admission" to the concerts.

As Mary Pat Beals, director of development at Catholic Charities, said at the end of the concerts, "Isn't it miraculous what good people can do when they come together in the spirit of love and giving?"

This year's "miracle" will help feed 50,000 people.

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