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Members of the Encounter youth choir perform during the 2016 season.
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ALTON — The Encounter youth choir is preparing for its 45th season in 2017 and is looking for Riverbend high school students to join the ministry.
Students can hear about the group, listen to music planned for the season and meet returning choir members and adult sponsors at a mixer from 4 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 7, at Main Street United Methodist Church, 1400 Main St.
Encounter brings together students from more than 30 area churches who are dedicated to sharing the good news of Jesus Christ through the ministries of music, service, fellowship and participation in the life of the church. This year, Encounter will present the musical “At the Cross (Love Ran Red)” by Bradley Knight in more than a dozen performances starting Easter Sunday through early August.
“We were looking for a musical this year with some tradition to it, something with familiarity but also contemporary,” choir director Eddie Hitchcock said.
He said having experience in music is helpful but not required.
“Anyone willing to sing is welcome to join Encounter,” he said. “We’re using our voices to share a story and every voice is important.”
Encounter rehearses every Sunday evening starting Jan. 8 until the first performance on Easter Sunday. The group performs this spring and summer at churches in Alton, Godfrey, Jerseyville and Highland and ends the season with a weeklong “tour” that is part performances, service trip, retreat and vacation.
Head sponsor Kim Maynard says while the choir is based out of the Main Street Methodist Church, high school students of all Christian denominations are welcome.
“Encounter is more than singing,” Maynard said. “While praise and worship music is at the core of what we do, we also use each Sunday to talk about life, share scripture and give the kids an opportunity to grow in their faith.
“When the students join Encounter, we don’t know where they are in their faith journey, so we let the Spirit work and often times by the end of the summer, some pretty amazing things have happened,” she said.
Students interested in joining Encounter will return at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 8, with their parents or guardians to officially register and attend the first rehearsal. To learn more about Encounter or the upcoming mixer, visit the website or call Main Street at (618) 462-2495. Encounter Youth Choir also is on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.