Parish Manager Leah Morsch has been in the choir at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Aurora for about 10 years, but never has the church had a summer musical performance as large as this weekend's Hymn Festival.
Close to 50 choir members, musicians and special guests will converge on Our Savior Lutheran, 420 W. Downer Place, Aurora, for an afternoon of music and food.
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The event is free and begins at 5 p.m. Sunday. The performances are in cooperation with St. Timothy Lutheran Church of Naperville and the Naperville Yuhllin Church.
Morsch says they have been rehearsing for the festival for more than a month. Much of the credit for the event goes to Director of Music Ministry Young Chung.
"It was all (Chung's) creation," Morsch said. "I think we started talking about it after the first of year."
Musical guests include vocalist Simon Kyung Lee, violinist Dorothy Shaw, the Fox Valley Windwood Quintet and the Hephzibah Choir, directed by Chung. The Hephzibah Choir consists of members of a number of different church choirs, including Our Savior Lutheran and St. Timothy Lutheran
"It's been my great joy to work with the choir," Chung said. "Even though members of the choir come from different places, they will sing with one heart in harmony with one another as children of God."
Chung studied music and conducting at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn. She has studied under Dr. John Ferguson, a renowned hymn festival organizer, and attended countless hymn festivals in the Twin Cities. She began organizing her own Hymn Festivals in 2003 and has done so ever since.
"It's phenomenal seeing the talent that Miss Chung has been able to recruit for us," Morsch said. "It's really uplifting, very inspirational."
Lee has traveled the world showcasing his voice. He has toured the U.S., Europe and Asia as the leading tenor with many different companies and has performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Shaw has taught music in the Chicago area for more than 25 years and has performed in McDonald's commercials and the movie "Home Alone II."
After the performances at Hymn Festival are complete, a Korean dinner will be served. Everything -- including dinner -- at the festival is free, but donations are encouraged.
The proceeds from the Hymn Festival will be donated to the Lifespring Ministry's kitchen remodeling project. The Lifespring Ministry works to provide biblical counseling to individuals and married couples. The kitchen remodeling project renovates kitchens at women's and children's shelters in the area.
"The most exciting thing about the Hymn Festival is being able to share Christ's love through sharing our time and gifts for our community," Chung said. "We can make a difference in our community through our musical event."