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Concert Sunday to benefit Union Leader Santa Fund

MANCHESTER - A light snow would set the mood for the Christmas concert, but First Congregational Church of Manchester music minister Kenneth Grinnell prefers dry weather for his final rehearsal and the day of the concert, Sunday Dec. 9, at 4 p.m.

The free concert is a benefit for the Union Leader Santa Fund for the Salvation Army and open to the public. A free-will offering will be collected at the end.

This year's concert consists of a selection of religious and secular Christmas music performed by the church's Chancel Choir, Sabbath Bell Choir and hand chimes. An organ solo by Grinnell, who is also a composer, will be performed.

Click here to donate to the Union Leader Santa Fund for the Salvation Army.

For those unfamiliar with hand chimes, Grinnell said they are tubular aluminum with a clapper on the outside and are "rung" much like a bell, each producing a tuned note.

"It's a very sweet, pure sound," said Grinnell. It's often used in conjunction with bells, but, he said: "We hear those better than the bells."

Grinnell looks forward to a handbell performance by Associate Pastor Jennie Valentine at the concert. "I heard her do a duet," he said. "She's quite accomplished (so) I had to ask her," he said.

Grinnell said he has invited the new Salvation Army Manchester Corps commanders, Lts. Herb and Miriam Rader, though he understands they have a busy schedule this time of year. If they are able to attend, he said: "I would ask them to say something about the Santa Fund."

It would probably be too much to hope for that the Raders, both of whom play a brass instrument, would perform at the concert, as they did at the Santa Fund kickoff lunch Nov. 16.

Free parking is available in the Amherst Street lot next to First Congregational Church. The church is handicapped-accessible from the Amherst Street ramp. For further information, please call (603) 625-5093.

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The generosity of Santa Fund donors makes it possible for the holidays to still be a joyful time. The Santa Fund makes food, clothing and gifts available during the holiday season, so financially stressed families can put their resources toward paying bills for basic needs.

Santa Fund donations may be made by sending a check to the Union Leader Santa Fund, in care of the New Hampshire Union Leader, P.O. Box 9555, Manchester 03108; or by placing a donation in the Santa Fund box in the lobby of the newspaper, at 100 William Loeb Drive, Manchester, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Donations can also be made online at

Every effort is made to promptly publish Santa Fund contributions. Donors who wish to see their contributions listed before Christmas are encouraged to submit them as soon as possible. The Union Leader publishes photos of donors of $1,000 or more.

For more information, call Christy DeTrude at 668-4321, ext. 507.


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