A Reason to Sing, a three-part concert series to raise money for the Bethlehem Senior Projects, Inc. transportation fleet, kicks off 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 21, at the Delmar Reformed Church Fellowship Hall.
Joyce Becker, assistant director for Bethlehem Senior Services, and Delmar resident and mezzo-soprano Barbara Eckhaus came up with the idea behind the concerts designed to raise money to replace vans used for medical and social transportation.
"My husband and I read the Spotlight article about the senior group needing to raise money for two vans for the community, and I called Senior Services and they told me they were considering a benefit concert as a fundraiser," said Eckhaus, who has performed across the country and regionally, including the Lake George Opera and the Glens Falls Symphony.
The first concert will feature Eckhaus, along with soprano Deborah Rocco, performing classical and musical theater duets.
"The first concert is a wonderful selection, and there will be something for everybody," sad Eckhaus.
Several students from Bethlehem Central High School, including one of Eckhaus's voice class pupils, Anna Birkhead, will be performing during the concert, along with Rebecca Chambers and Emma Goldsmith-Rooney. Pianist Albert Wood will provide accompaniment on the Fellowship Hall concert grand piano.
"We pride ourselves here at Delmar Reformed Church at being a community center, and we love to open our doors to community events," said Pastor David Corlett. "We're pleased with this."
The second concert, slated for Friday, Sept. 28, features guitarist Brian Kaplan and singer Erin Slater.
The performers for the final concert of the series on Friday, Oct. 26, will be The Pacemakers, an eight-piece local dance band that will play "swing music" and a variety of World War II era and country western tunes.
Bethlehem Senior Projects, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization with a volunteer board and staffed by a community of volunteers. The group raises funds for projects like the van fleet to support independence and community involvement for seniors.
"They are an extraordinary good group of volunteers who participate in this program," said town Supervisor Jack Cunningham.
The goal is to raise $100,000. Senior Services currently has about $33,000 in donations.
"Senior services has helped my mom, Eleanor Clarke, and I felt it was time for me to give back to the community," said Eckhaus.