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ADA — When Ada First United Methodist Church burned to the ground on March 13, a community landmark disappeared from the village landscape.
But also gone was a place that was an important part of the lives of many village residents – serving as a place of worship and gathering, as well as a meeting place for many of the town’s most respected organizations.
So when Melanie Ca Woods posted about the fire on the website of the singing ensemble The Voices of Ohio – of which she and fellow church member Michele Elliott are members – the other members of the adult singing ensemble decided they should help.
And this weekend they will fulfill that promise when The Voices of Ohio perform a benefit concert for the church at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Ada High School auditorium.
Voices of Ohio, based out of Grove City, provides a fun-filled, family-friendly show that is geared toward audiences of all ages.
Formed just over five years ago, Voices of Ohio, which boast members from all over the state, has entertained audiences throughout the state and nation and has been featured in Kenny Rogers’ annual Christmas shows.
Included in it the group’s repertoire are Depression era standards (A Shanty in Old Shanty Town), big band numbers (Sentimental Journey) an Elvis number (Heartbreak Hotel), pop numbers from the 1970s (We’ve Only Just Begun), Broadway stage hits (medley from the Tony winning “Jersey Boys”), new country (In My Daughter’s Eyes) and top 40, songs of hope and inspiration (How Great Art Thou) and a red, white and blue star-spangled finale, God Bless America/America the Beautiful).
Caw Woods, who has been a member of the group since its inception, said the idea for the group to perform a benefit in Ada came about shortly after the March fire.
“I posted on the members’ bulletin board on the website about how our church had burned down that day and at the next rehearsal (director) Girrard Stewart said there was a hole in the schedule in July and asked if they could do a benefit concert for the church,” Caw Woods said. “I appreciate that they want to help and am hoping for a lot of community support on Saturday. I would love to fill the auditorium.”
She said while there will be a free-will donation, people aren’t required to donate to attend the concert.
“If people want to give they can, but attending and showing support for the church is the important thing,” Caw Woods said.
While a fundraiser, she said the concert is also a way for the church to thank the community for its support.
“The Kiwanis and Rotary clubs, Head Start was in the basement, the boys scouts and girls scouts met there … we always tried hard to reach out to the community,” she said. “So we’re also presenting this as a way to reach out to the community, to provide a fun evening and show appreciation to those who have helped us out.
She noted that between 400 and 500 individuals, organizations and congregations have made gifts to the church since the fire.
“We will be recognizing those individuals and organizations,” she said.
Caw Woods said the church, which is currently holding worship services at Ohio Northern’s English Chapel, is still in the early stages of planning in the rebuilding process.
She said that in coming weeks there will be a series of congregational meetings to go over the past, present and future.
By KENDRICK JESIONOWSKI
Times sports editor