Community Missions invites the public to a free concert at its “Gardens of Compassion” community space on Wednesday, Aug. 16, from 6:30-7:30 p.m., at St. James United Methodist Church, 4661 Porter Road, Niagara Falls. This event is rain or shine, and refreshments will be provided.
A press release stated, “The evening will combine a few different initiatives into a fun evening for concertgoers. The ‘Gardens of Compassion’ began over 10 years ago, with a mission to grow both vegetables and an understanding of mental health. The initiative brings together Community Missions’ programs with the public to cultivate a community garden and demonstrate care for creation. The raised beds are currently in full bloom, and all are welcomed to enjoy this pleasant space.”
Grassroots Gardens WNY supports CMI’s gardening programs and other community gardens throughout the region. It is collaborating with Nusantara Arts of Buffalo to provide the “Grassroots Gamelan Garden Music Series” throughout the summer.
Organizers said, “The concert presents the rare gamelan music of Indonesia, one of the world’s oldest continuously played musical art forms. It is an orchestral collection of metal and wood instruments with unique tuning and beautiful music.”
Grassroots Gardens WNY Executive Director Tim Chen said, “Following a first concert series in 2021, our organization was excited for the opportunity to partner with Nusantara Arts for a second round of concerts this summer through the support of the Cullen Foundation. As our communities continue to step out from the impacts of the COVID pandemic, we're especially grateful that this is an opportunity to introduce our garden spaces as ones of not just growing physical plants and vegetables, but of building community connections through neighborly gatherings and celebrations – something music does just as effectively as communal gardening efforts. These spaces would not be possible without the neighbors, community groups and organizations that help to steward and care for them. We hope this concert series can be a small step towards celebrating and recognizing their work.”
The press release added, “The event is also a part of Community Missions’ ‘Gratitude Campaign.’ The impetus for this initiative came from Sister Beth Brosmer, a CMI board member. She felt that, with all the division in our society, that we needed to appreciate one another more. She brought this idea to CMI’s community and religious services committee, which launched the ‘Gratitude Campaign.’ Previous efforts have included thanking postal workers, mental health workers, and historians in Niagara County. Wednesday evening’s concert will be an opportunity to express gratitude to local gardeners.”
Nusantara Arts Executive Director Matt Dunning said, “The ‘Grassroots Gamelan’ collaboration between Nusantara Arts and Grassroots Gardens is a pride and joy of our organization. The purpose of these performances is twofold: to get the incredibly beautiful and rare gamelan music of Indonesia to people within their own communities to enjoy, and for community gardens to use the gamelan as a tool to facilitate community in their own spaces. Playing at Community Missions’ gratitude event fulfills both of these important goals.”
The event will be held rain or shine, moving indoors in the event of inclement weather.
More About Community Missions
Since its founding in 1925, Community Missions has provided a unique blend of referral, crisis, community support, and residential services for youth and adults. Last year, Community Missions provided over 200,000 meals and more than 13,000 nights of care to neglected or abused children and homeless adults. Additional agency programs serve adults and youth with psychiatric disabilities, parolees, at-risk youth and other underserved populations in both residential and recovery-oriented settings.
For more information, visit www.communitymissions.org.