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March 08. 2013 11:09PM

Bedford church holds Celtic music concert

BEDFORD - The Bedford Presbyterian Church will host a special concert Sunday night, featuring entertainment by a nationally recognized musician who happens to be a member of its congregation.

Joe Deleault, with some help from James Prendergast on guitar and Ellen Carlson on fiddle, will perform Celtic and Canadian music at 7 p.m. in the church sanctuary.

Church elder Gretchen Gray said Deleault has put on concerts at the church for about five years as a way to raise money for its mission work.

The concert will feature a free will offering, and refreshments will be served, Gray said.

"Joe is a nationally known artist, and he's a really talented pianist and composer," Gray said, recording with such stars as Carly Simon and Jon Bon Jovi.

Members of the congregation have been traveling to Louisiana for the past several years to help those affected by Hurricane Katrina, Gray said.

"We've been doing mission work for years and years," she said. "But we really started in earnest with Katrina. We've literally been helping people rebuild their lives."

George Reese, mission elder, said that since 2006, the church has sent 247 of its members on seven mission trips, repairing 28 homes, one church and a small business.

"Every year, we send a group of anywhere from 25 to 40 people for the yearly mission trips," he said.

Its youth mission program also carries out volunteer projects, including three trips to rural Maine to assist another church.

Last year, the adult group was a bit closer to home, helping a family in West Virginia renovate their home, which had never had a complete bathroom or hot water tank.The volunteers are scheduled for a return trip to the state in April.

Locally, the church also supports the New Hampshire Food Bank, the Bedford Caregivers and the New Horizons soup kitchen.

The concerts aren't the largest fundraisers for the church, Reeves said, but they're a way to get the community together, while benefiting an important part of the church.

"This is fellowship that raises money," he said. "It's just as much about the fellowship."

Gray said the evening will be a good way for people to escape the winter doldrums.

"It's so much fun, and you have an opportunity to see some really talented artists that play just for the joy of it, and support a good cause," she said.


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