MEDIA RELEASE: Nov 22, 2016
Contact: Rachael Mortensen, (503) 550-9463
Lifting the Holiday Spirits
Community Shares Music with Struggling Families
Portland, OR – (Nov 22, 2016) A partnership between local charities and benefactors will provide tickets for hundreds of families to attend Michael Allen Harrison’s Christmas at the Old Church concerts this December.
IN 2015 the concert series celebrated its 25th anniversary, breaking all attendance records, playing to thousands of concertgoers over its 25-show run at Old Church in Southwest Portland.
Over the years, businesses and foundations have helped to sponsored the series making it possible for those who may not have the financial means to attend the show.
This year, thanks to sponsorship by Sure ID and the Hedinger Family Foundation, there will be 2,000 tickets offered to families in need, twice the number of free tickets that were available to last year’s shows.
Many of the families attending the holiday concerts will come from Birch Community Services (BCS), a non-profit organization founded by Barry and Suzanne Birch. BCS, also celebrating its 25-year anniversary, offers food, clothing and financial management classes to working-poor families.
In a recent article in the Gresham Outlook, BCS Board Chair Mark Childs said that organization’s “strategy of partnership with working, struggling families who fall between the cracks, has enabled (BCS) to foster a culture of dignity and accountability, giving us the opportunity to instill hope and provide product from family to family.”
This year will be his first year working with BCS, and for Harrison, the relationship is personal.
“I’ve known several families who have turned to BCS over the years, and have seen, firsthand, how successfully their program runs,” he said. “There are many wonderful organizations out there making a difference, and BCS is one that both serves and empowers its clients to improve their lives.”
Harrison also works with the Salvation Army, veterans’ groups and others to bring families out to the concerts. Through the support of corporate and individual sponsors, Harrison says the performers “have the ability to share the warmth of holiday spirit with people from all walks of life – it is a gift for all of us!”
Michael Allen Harrison’s Christmas at the Old Church is celebrating 26 years as one of Portland’s most beloved holiday traditions. The 2016 shows will include performances by regular cast members Julianne Johnson, Bill Lamb and American Idol finalist Haley Johnsen..
New additions to the show this year include We Three, a multi-talented sister-and-brothers group from McMinnville.
There will also be special appearances by Bill “The Schonz” Schonely and Thomas Ellis, son of guitarist Tim Ellis, a local music icon who passed away of cancer earlier in 2016.
To sponsor a family, email to MAH@teleport.com, or call (503) 568-9134.
EVENT: Christmas at the Old Church
DATES: Dec 10-26 at the Old Church in SW Portland (22 shows)
TICKET LINE: (503) 568-9134
BCS WEBSITE: http://www.birchcommunityservices.org
MEDIA CONTACT: Rachael Mortensen (503) 550-9463