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St. John’s music director featured in Rock Hill concert to support local nonprofit

A concert featuring St. John’s United Methodist Church music director Justin Addington will take place at the Episcopal Church of Our Saviour on Feb. 17. All proceeds will benefit Education Equals Hope.

Chip Smith of Fort Mill founded Education Equals Hope, a nonprofit dedicated to providing education for people in difficult situations. Since its inception, this outreach has touched the lives of more than 5,000 students in nine countries including Costa Rica, Haiti, Ecuador, Israel, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. The nonprofit also helps children from broken homes and students who are visually impaired.

Smith said everyone understands the need for education, especially in third-world countries.

“Education helps individuals break the chains of poverty and gives hope to a brighter future with more possibilities,” he said. “Some students come from families that might have been fine financially one minute and the next a mother gets cancer and all of the finances go toward her medical bills.”

Smith said he hopes the upcoming concert brings awareness to the organization’s programs and support to its educational scholarships.

Addington said he’s always honored to participate in events where he can contribute to a worthy cause. Highlights of his work include the development of a nationally recognized concert series, performances of numerous major works with orchestra and choir tours to Italy, Austria and Carnegie Hall.

Addington will perform a 30-minute solo organ recital at 4:30 p.m. Then he will accompany Our Saviour’s music director Virginia Moe and its choir for the service beginning at 5 p.m. Members of St. John’s choir also will sing.

“I chose pieces I thought would showcase the organ well and be appropriate for the Lenten season,” Addington said.

Both congregations support Education Equals Hope, so it made sense to combine musical forces to raise funds, he said.

There is no admission charge for the concert. Donations are encouraged. Proceeds will benefit Education Equals Hope, but will be earmarked for St. John's summer mission trip to Ecuador.

Episcopal Church of Our Saviour is at 144 Caldwell Street in Rock Hill. Details: 803-327-1131.

Stephanie Jadrnicek: