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Photo by Trina Kleist
Bob Duegan, on banjo, and Thomas Greathouse, on piano, were among 31 musicians who performed Sunday during the Texas Hurricane Fundraising Concert at Peace Lutheran Church in Grass Valley, raising nearly $8,000 for relief and rebuilding in the Houston area.

September 5, 2017 – Local people donated close to $8,000 at a recent concert to support relief and rebuilding in the Houston area, devastated by Hurricane Harvey.

The impromptu Texas Hurricane Fundraising Concert drew at least 170 people to hear 31 musicians perform at Peace Lutheran Church in Grass Valley on Sunday. The entire amount raised – so far, $7,676, with more donations expected – will be sent to Lutheran Disaster Response, said the Rev. Eileen Smith Le Van, pastor of Peace.

Music ranged from classical to opera, jazz to pop. The audience got involved with a sing-a-long of “The Yellow Rose of Texas” and other folk songs. They roared with laughter as organist Walt Strony closed with his signature original composition: Multiple variations, in a range of musical styles, of the Oscar Meyer wiener advertisement ditty.

Lutheran Disaster Response is an international outreach of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. It had affiliates on the ground even before Harvey hit to prepare for the storm, according to the LDR website. The program’s salaries and overhead are paid for by Lutheran churches throughout the year, so 100 percent of donations will be used for relief efforts in the Houston area, Smith Le Van added.

“Recovery efforts are expected to take years, and Lutheran Disaster Response will be there to accompany those affected through every phase of this disaster,” the outreach stated on its website.

Donations to Hurricane Harvey relief still are being received at Peace’s secure website, www.PeaceLutheranGV.org .

At least 45 people have been confirmed dead in Harvey’s wake; flooding continues in some areas as swollen reservoirs release water; residents of outlying areas remain without electricity and staples; and 13 toxic waste sites threaten to pollute flooded areas, the Associated Press reported. President Donald Trump has asked Congress for $7.9 billion to rebuild in the region.

Trina Kleist is youth & outreach coordinator for Peace Lutheran Church and can be reached at tkleistwrites@gmail.com or (530) 575-6132.