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First Free Rockford Hosts Community Choir Festival Experience

Event caters to both singers and the public

ROCKFORD, Ill. (Feb. 7, 2019) – First Free Rockford invites singers and the public to worship through music and song during its annual Community Choir Festival taking place this month.

Singers, who need not have a choir affiliation, will practice together on Friday, Feb. 22, and Saturday, Feb. 23. They will then present a free concert that’s open to the public at 6 p.m. Feb. 23.

Dr. Gary Bonner, an internationally recognized conductor and trainer of conductors, will lead the rehearsals and the performance. First Free is excited to host the event to bring together singers from across the region, said festival coordinator Renee Cooper, First Free’s Classic Worship Director.

“Church choirs aren’t what they used to be – a reflection of the resources needed to run them and the amount of time people have to be part of them,” Cooper said. “We are so blessed to have a choir here at First Free, and we want to encourage anyone who loves to sing to be part of a choir again.”

Choir members will practice and learn about a dozen songs – a process Cooper called challenging, exciting and fun. Bonner chooses the music, which is typically a mix of traditional and contemporary Christian songs.

“It pushes people out of their comfort zones,” she noted of the experience. “You don’t have to be a great reader of music, though. It’s amazing what you pick up with the group around you. We laugh a lot, have fun and work hard.”

The event is expected to draw singers and attendees from around the Midwest. Rehearsals are scheduled from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Feb. 22 and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 23.

Rehearsals and the performance will take place at First Free Rockford, 2223 N. Mulford Road. Cost to participate as a singer is $30 for adults and $20 for students, which includes lunch on Saturday. Admission to the performance is free.

Register online at the EventBrite page. Call Renee Cooper at 815-877-7046 or email her with any questions.