Nov. 15, 2004
CUA and National Shrine to Sponsor 16th Annual Charity Concert
Proceeds Will Benefit So Others Might Eat in Washington, D.C.
Choral singers and instrumentalists from the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and The Catholic University of America will come together to perform the 16th Annual Christmas Concert for Charity at the Great Upper Church of the Basilica on Friday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m. Donations will benefit SOME (So Others Might Eat), an interfaith, community-based organization that helps the poor and homeless in Washington, D.C.
The annual Christmas concert for charity will feature performances by the CUA Chorus and Symphony Orchestra conducted, respectively, by Leo Nestor and Kate Tamarkin, and by the Basilica Choir. The Basilica Choir will be directed by Peter Latona and joined by members of the Orchestra of the 17th Century. Works will include selections by Bach, Darke, Franck, Holst, Victoria and Tschesnokoff, in addition to traditional Christmas carols.
The Shrine is located at 400 Michigan Ave., N.E., Washington, D.C.
The concert is free and open to the public.
As has been the case during the preceding 15 years, a free-will collection will be taken up during the concert to support a local charitable organization, in this case SOME. Previous concerts have benefited the St. Ann’s Infant and Maternity Home, the Jeanne Jugan Residence for the elderly poor and New Endeavors for Women, among other local charities.
This year’s beneficiary, SOME, has been serving the poor for 35 years: providing food for the hungry, shelter for the homeless and clothing and showers for the destitute. SOME also attacks the causes of poverty by providing education and life skills, addiction recovery, job training, elderly services and more.
“SOME has been feeding women, men and children for the past 35 years. Each day in our dining room we serve over 850 meals a day. SOME has grown over the years to help the hundreds of people who come to the dining room to move from homelessness and poverty to independence. We are restoring hope and dignity — one person at a time,” says Rev. John Adams, president of SOME and a CUA alumnus.
Founded as a soup kitchen in the basement of St. Aloysius Church on North Capitol Street in 1970, SOME is now based in a renovated warehouse on O St., N.W., and in a dozen other locations throughout the city. Thanks to the labor of more than 6,000 volunteers a year and a budget that relies heavily on donations, SOME has become a one-stop shop for the disadvantaged in the District.
SOME has always viewed feeding the hungry as its primary mission; consequently, it provides thousands of hot meals a week and runs a food pantry.
“But the main reason people are hungry and homeless is the lack of affordable housing. And Washington, D.C., has the least amount of affordable housing in the United States. There are approximately 14,000 people who are homeless in the Washington area today,” Adams says. “SOME is committed to continuing to develop affordable housing for people in our city.”
Its newest project is Independence Place, a vacant apartment building that’s being carved up into affordable apartments for 21 low-income families. (Almost 50 percent of homeless people in the area are families, Adams says.) The building will also house an enrichment and nutrition program for children called SOME Place for Kids.
SOME also provides a day center for the mentally ill and two addiction residential drug recovery programs. Through its Center for Employment Training, SOME offers education in computer and office skills, building maintenance and repair, and certified nursing assistantship. Students typically spend six months in the program, putting in 35 hours a week. They are fulfilling one of SOME’s most important goals: to help people help themselves.
“Daily SOME lives the Gospel message we find in Matthew 25 to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, clothe those in need and in the process recognize the face of God, the face of Christ; to recognize we are helping our brothers and sisters,” Adams says. “It is our privilege to work on behalf of those who are in need in our society. In the process we all become better when we reach out.”
For more information about the concert, call the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music at 202-319-4000 or the National Shrine at 202-526-8300.
NOTE TO MEDIA: To arrange coverage of the concert or receive more information, please contact Peter Sonski at 202-281-0615 (National Shrine) or Chris Harrison at 202-319-5600 (Catholic University).
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The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is the largest Catholic church in the western hemisphere and the eighth largest church in the world. Completed in 1959, its more than 65 chapels and oratories represent the many ethnic devotions U.S. Catholics have to the Blessed Virgin. Pope John Paul II elevated the National Shrine to the distinction of Basilica in 1990.
The Catholic University of America, located near the heart of Washington, D.C., is unique as the national university of the Catholic Church in America. Founded in 1887 and chartered by Congress, the university opened as a graduate and research institution. Undergraduate programs were introduced in 1904. Today the private and coeducational campus has approximately 5,900 undergraduate and graduate students from all states and 90 countries enrolled in 11 schools of architecture and planning, arts and sciences, canon law, engineering, law, library and information science, music, nursing, philosophy, social service, and theology and religious studies.
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