It's hard to say what's best about this Sunday's second annual AIDS Benefit Sing-a-thon at Grace United Methodist Church. Is it the chance to hear more than 30 professional singers from the Baltimore-Washington area for free? Or is it the chance to help local AIDS patient services in an enjoyable way?
Kitty Allen, spokeswoman for the benefit, says that it's both. "The musical community has been really hurt by AIDS. They feel the loss and they believe that music can do something about it."
What they hope to do is raise awareness about the high cost of caring for PWAs (People With AIDS) as well as entertain Sunday's audience. It is a big order. Yet to the performers, all of whom are donating their talent, it seems a natural combination.
Noted recitalist Ruth Drucker, who will perform songs by Kurt Weill and Joaquin Rodrigo, explains, "For me to use my art, to do something, is a powerful thing. I've lost so many wonderful friends to this dreaded, horrible disease that I jumped at the chance when they invited me to perform."
The Grace AIDS Task Force is sponsoring the event for the second year in a row. Formed to develop compassion and awareness of the problems of PWAs, the task force has been ......TC pacesetter in local AIDS ministries. The benefit is the fourth in a series of fund-raising concerts sponsored by this group.
"Last year we raised over $5,000. Even if we only raise a dollar more this year, we'll be happy," says Allen. There is no admission charge for the Sing-a-thon, but donations will be gratefully accepted.
All of the money raised during the benefit will go directly to AIDS patient services such as HERO, AIDS Action Baltimore, Johns Hopkins Hospital Emergency AIDS Fund, University of Maryland Pediatric AIDS Fund and Movable Feast.
Scheduled performers include Baltimore Symphony Holiday Pops soloist Alice Mack, New York City Opera bass Andrew Wuulf, Cantor Mel Luterman and a quartet from Temple Oheb Shalom, gospel singers, Tom Lewis and the Capitol Community Singers from Washington. The many other soloists will sing selections from the oratorio, art song and operatic repertories.
"Singing is what I do best," says tenor Jeffrey Fahnestock. "I don't have the financial resources to donate, but I do have time and talent. If I have them to give, I should. Perhaps with a concert like this, music lovers who aren't aware of the problems of AIDS will get involved and do something."
The second annual AIDS Benefit Sing-a-thon on Oct. 7, at Grace United Methodist Church, located at the corner of N. Charles Street and Northern Parkway, begins at 2 p.m. For more information, call 433 -6650.