Hymn Festival set for Aug. 20 in Gibson City

GIBSON CITY — The Gibson Area Music Foundation (GAMF) will host its annual Hymn Festival at 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 20, at the United Methodist Church of Gibson City.

The event is free and open to people of all ages. The audience is invited to sing along on most hymns, with music provided in hymnals and lyrics projected on a large screen.

Milt Kelly of Fisher will direct the program, with a theme of “Songs of Grace and Peace.” He will offer short backgrounds or stories about the hymns or their composers.

Kelly taught 30 years at Fisher schools as director of instrumental and choral music, and he served four terms as Fisher’s mayor. He and his wife, Connie, have three grown sons. Their son Nathan is an associate professor of political science at the University of Tennessee, while their son Jon is principal at Fisher Junior-Senior High School and their son Ben is an educational technology coach for Champaign Unit 4 schools.

The program will feature hymns such as “Standing on the Promises of God” and “God is Our Refuge and Strength.” Two features will be Ben Kelly as soloist for the Dottie Rambo song “He Looked Beyond My Fault and Saw My Need,” and Milt Kelly will accompany “I’ve Got Peace Like a River.”

Organist is Stephanie Swearingen, a 2000 graduate of Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley High School and a 2004 graduate in piano performance of Illinois Wesleyan Univeristy in Bloomington.

The church is located on the corner of Church and Tenth streets in Gibson City, and it offers elevator access to the sanctuary from the north entrance. Ample free parking is available in lots to the north and east of the church, as well as free on-street parking. The church’s spacious sanctuary features large stained-glass windows and a pipe organ, both of which are more than 100 years old.

A free-will offering will be taken to support events and scholarships funded by the music foundation. Donations may also be made directly to Gibson Area Music Foundation, P.O. Box 292, Gibson City, IL 60936.

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