Dozens of area residents attended the final Bach and Handel Chorale concert of the season at St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jim Thorpe this weekend. The event was used to raise funds and gather food items for the Shepherd House Food Pantry in Lehighton.

This is the third year that the Bach and Handle Chorale has chosen to support Shepherd House, said the chorale's founder and conductor, Randall D. Perry.

Shepherd House Food Pantry oversees the food pantry program in Carbon County, and works directly with the individual food banks in area towns to ensure that no adult or child must go without food.

"There are hungry people in Carbon County," said Perry. "It's an eye-opener for many people. We knew this was something we wanted to do."

As guests entered St. John's, they were greeted by a small shopping cart labeled "Shepherd House Food Pantry." Concertgoers left generous donations of canned goods and shopping bags full of nonperishable foods. A freewill offering was also taken.

The program featured music by popular sacred music composers, including Johann Sebastian Bach. The chorale began with a brief a cappella performance of Gordon Young's "Glorificamus" and Young's "Christus Resurrexit." The first half also included original music by Perry, "Christ is Made the Sure Foundation."

The program concluded with sacred and classic selections by Mozart, "Ave Vetum Corpus," Bach's "Dona Nobis Pacem" (from Mass in B Minor), and other sacred composers.

The Bach and Handel Chorale traditionally dedicates its final performance of the season to a charitable organization, and it doesn't intend to stop this tradition anytime soon.

"We plan to continue in this vein," he said. "We like to have people come to hear our music, but we also want to be community minded."

The Bach and Handel Chorale will take a break for the summer season. The group will return to St. Mark's Episcopal Church on Race Street, Jim Thorpe, for the first of five Christmas concerts on Dec. 4 at 3 p.m. Other Christmas performances will be held on Dec. 4 at 7 p.m., St. Paul's United Church of Christ, Trexlertown; Dec. 5 at 4 p.m., St. John's UCC in Tamaqua; Dec. 11 at 3 p.m., St. Mark's in Jim Thorpe; and Dec. 12 at 3 p.m., at the Angela Triplex Theatre in Coaldale.

The Bach and Handel Chorale was founded by Perry in 1984 to celebrate the 300th anniversaries of Johann Sebastian Bach and George Frideric Handel. For more information or to support the Bach and Handel Chorale, visit www.bachandhandelchorale.org [1].