A ministry of the Main Street United Methodist Church in Alton, Encounter will perform “At the Cross (Love Ran Red)” by Bradley Knight in more than a dozen Riverbend shows this spring and summer.
The Encounter Youth Choir will begin its 45th season with two performances on Easter Sunday.
A ministry of the Main Street United Methodist Church in Alton, Encounter will perform “At the Cross (Love Ran Red)” by Bradley Knight in more than a dozen Riverbend shows this spring and summer. The first two events will be at 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday, April 16, at Main Street UMC, 1400 Main St. in Alton.
The season began in January with a mixer for returning and potential members, and the following week continued with the introduction of the musical and the first rehearsal. The group practices each Sunday evening through Palm Sunday, then holds an all-day rehearsal on Good Friday. In addition to rehearsals each week, there is group worship time or small group Scripture study, and a dinner prepared by parents.
Encounter is made up of 85 high school students from six area schools representing nearly 30 Riverbend churches. It also has 16 adult sponsors who do much of the behind-the-scenes work, from fundraising, leading small group scripture study, running sound, driving students and more. Its mission is to spread the word of Jesus through music, service, fellowship and participation in the life of the church.
In 1972, the choir director of Main Street UMC in Alton started a small choir made up of 11 youths from the church. They called themselves Love Eleven. The following year the membership grew to 36. That year, they prepared a musical, “The Encounter,” which ultimately became the official name for the group. The Methodist Annual Conference invited the group to perform that year. A Navy captain heard them sing at the conference and extended them an invitation to sing at the naval base in Orlando, Fla. Suddenly, the group was on its way to Florida, where it sang at the base before an audience of 1,500 service men and women. As part of the tour, the group performed at several churches along the route and in the Orlando area. As a result of this experience, Encounter has incorporated a weeklong service and performance tour toward the end of every season. Some of the past tour destinations have been Washington, D.C.; Wisconsin Dells, Chicago; Estes Park, Colo.; Panama City Beach, Fla.; and Gatlinburg, Tenn. This summer, the group will visit St. Simon Island, Ga.
All Encounter performances at area churches are open to the public with a free-will offering taken up during the show; otherwise there is no charge to attend. This summer the group will also walk in the Memorial Day Parade in Upper Alton, sing at the Relay for Life Riverbend, and for the first time sing at Chautauqua as part of a Summer Concert Series.
For more information, visit www.encounteryouthchoir.org or follow the group on Facebook, or call the church at )618) 462-2495.
Encounter 2017 performance schedule
Easter Sunday, April 16 – 4:30 and 7 p.m., Main Street United Methodist Church
Sunday, April 23 – 6 p.m., Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Alton
Sunday, May 7 – 6 p.m., Highland Hope UMC
Sunday, May 21 – 6 p.m., Abundant Life Church, Alton
Monday, May 29 – Walk in Alton Memorial Day Parade
Saturday, June 3 – Relay for Life Riverbend, East Alton-Wood River High School, evening
Sunday, June 4 – 6 p.m., Westminster Presbyterian Church, Godfrey
Thursday, June 8 – Chautauqua (for residents)
Sunday, June 11 – 6 p.m., First Presbyterian Church, Alton
Sunday, June 25 – 6 p.m. St. Paul Catholic Church, Highland
Sunday, July 9 – 6 p.m., Jerseyville UMC
Sunday, July 16 – 6 p.m., St. Ambrose Catholic Church, Godfrey
Sunday, July 23 – 6 p.m., The Bridge, Alton
Sunday, Aug. 6 – 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m., final performances, Main Street UMC