Joy to You concert returns for the Christmas season

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published December 9, 2021

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP — The 14th year of the annual Joy To You holiday concert returned this year in person to celebrate the Christmas season.

The holiday concert took place at Trinity Lutheran Church in Utica Dec. 5 to benefit women’s shelters in Macomb County.

Barbara Ogar, flutist, flute choir director and Shelby Township resident, said that throughout the 14 years, they have been collecting and purchasing donations for local shelters including Turning Point, the Student Support Services Program, Haven, MCREST and Abigayle Ministries.

The event included a bake sale and Christmas bazaar and a collection of donations for essentials baskets, which include soap, toothpaste, tissue and more.

The concert included a Holiday Brass Trio, guitarist Alan Ayoub, Mezzo-Soprano Lauren Munaco, Amanda Sabelhaus on piano, lots of flutes, and U.K. flutist superstar Stephen Clark, who made a special trip to Michigan to play for the concert.

Janet Silvestri, of Shelby Township, said she has attended and participated in the Joy to You concerts since the first one.

“This is a beautiful annual concert where you not only hear beautiful music from local artists, but have the opportunity to support local shelters that make a difference for people in need. All of these amazing artists give of their time and talent each year to bring not only Joy to You, but make the lives of those in need a little brighter. It’s a special event that I will always be a part of,” she said via email.

Ogar said the Joy to You concert has been called the region’s “best kept secret,” but the musicians don’t want it to be a secret.

“For 14 years, we have been purchasing and donating needed items for local shelters. Each year, the holiday concert features professional instrumentalists, vocalists and talented youth. It’s a heartwarming community event of music and giving — a beautiful way to start the holiday season,” she said.