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Local churches fill sanctuaries with fine arts
Joby Bell
Organist Joby Bell will begin the fine arts series at the First Presbyterian Church in Gainesville with a concert on Oct. 1.

Honing in on the skills of creatives, area churches feature fine arts including concerts, storytelling and artist workshops.

Grace Episcopal Church, Gainesville First United Methodist Church and First Presbyterian Church Gainesville each are hosting an array of events featuring the arts.

At Gainesville First there will be a free, live jazz quartet taking the stage at 4 p.m. Sept. 24.  Virginia Schenck will be performing Sacred Jazz.

“She studied with Bobby McFerrin, who was a jazz vocalist. The concert we have is really about jazz from a world music perspective, so it is different styles,” said John LaForge, director of worship arts at Gainesville First.

LaForge said the church began its concert series five years ago to “bring people into the church who might not have ever been.”

“This is a great way for us to bring people in that might not regularly come to church for worship but might come to a concert,” LaForge said. “It is a way to meet them, show Christ’s love to them, be inviting and let them see what we are all about.”

LaForge said music and art have been a part of worship and church tradition for thousands of years.

“I have always felt that music is a way in which we can personally connect with each other in worship and as a community of faith,” LaForge said. “By extension, the concert series is also a way for us to share in that experience with people from our church, other churches and people in our community. We are all trying to provide enrichment through fine arts and music.”

First Presbyterian will begin its annual fine arts series at 4 p.m. Oct. 1 with a recital by organist Joby Bell.

“Now, more than ever, we realize that our Northeast Georgia area, and especially our Gainesville/Hall County community, is filled with people who want to join together in support of the fine arts,” Michael Henry said. “We cross many lines of churches, neighborhoods, ages and vocations, but we all share an enthusiasm for bringing great performances to local audiences, and showcasing great talents from near and far.”

Lee Koontz, who is senior pastor at the church, said he is proud to support the fine arts series.

“Through the arts, we are blessed to share something noble and valuable with the community and the world,” Koontz said. “We’re excited to support the arts in this wonderful community we call home.”

Adult admission at the door is $15; children and students with ID are admitted free.

Artist’s Way, a meeting once every two months will be coming up on Oct. 10 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the conference room at Grace Episcopal.

“It teaches how to live an artist’s life, explore creativity and spirituality and build self-confidence as a creative person,” said Barbara Danner, who is part of the group.  “It’s a joy to be in community with fellow artists.”

The meeting is a 12-week course where attendees can enjoy art-related conversations and projects, while sharing snacks and wine.

Regional events