There is never a lack of great music to hear in Savannah, but it's particularly worthwhile when the show is not only free, but also provides a charitable service to the community.
Savannah's First Presbyterian Church is continuing the fifth season of its popular free concert series with a performance of "Music for Two Trumpets."
The concert features Larry Wells and Tim Altman on trumpets with William McNair accompanying on piano and organ. Wells is director of instrumental studies and professor of trumpet at Methodist University in Fayetteville and Altman is professor and chair of the Music Department at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. Between Wells and Altman, they have performed with several orchestras and popular artists, including Wynton Marsalis, The Moody Blues, The Four Tops, The Temptations and Bruce Hornsby.
The program contains a broad selection of music ranging from Baroque to contemporary composers. "They're from several different eras of music and a lot of different styles, so I think it will be an exciting program," says Anne McNair, director of music for First Presbyterian Church.
"This series is called Music with a Mission because we pair each concert with a different nonprofit to help raise both awareness and funding for that nonprofit," explains McNair. "We're really happy that by the end of this season, we'll have raised money for 20 different nonprofits."
Proceeds from this performance will go to Coastal Jail Ministries, which helps recently incarcerated people adjust to life outside of prison.
"I think that what impressed me the most about them is that, not only do they work with the inmates themselves, but they also work with them after they are released from jail, and that way they really have a mission to reduce recidivism," says McNair.
On average, 80 percent of released prisoners return to jail within three years, but Coastal Jail Ministries can boast that 80 percent of the people they help do not go back to prison.
"They are really successful with that," says McNair. "They offer job training, resume writing skills and interviewing skills. They also partner with local businesses that are willing to hire people who were recently released from jail. They really try to get their clientele back into productive work in society."
The Music for a Mission concerts are free, but a collection offering is taken up to benefit local nonprofits. Funding from the church and community ensure consistently high-quality performances.
"The concerts are sponsored by members of our church, but we've really developed a following from people in the community that support our concerts," says McNair. "People have given money to support us, attracting really good performers, and so the concerts are basically underwritten by supporters and we can offer them free to the community.
"We encourage people to come out and enjoy the music and support this ministry," McNair adds.
IF YOU GO
What: Music with a Mission: "Music for Two Trumpets" with Tim Altman and Larry Wells
When: 5 p.m. Jan. 7
Where: First Presbyterian Church, 520 Washington Ave.
Cost: Free; donations accepted for Coastal Jail Ministries