Singers of all ages came together for our annual Sing-Along Messiah on Dec. 6, held at First United Methodist Church of Oak Park. A free-will offering raised $2,456 for West Suburban PADS (Public Action to Deliver Shelter), which provides year-round services for the homeless in our community.

Cosponsored by the MacDowell Artists Association and First United Methodist Church of Oak Park, the do-it-yourself performance featured more than 265 volunteer singers, as well as four talented professional soloists: Susan Krout, Martha Edwards, Garrett Johannsen and Joseph Smith. The Chicago Chamber Orchestra was conducted by David Tartakoff. David Leehey, president of the MacDowell Artists Association, played the harpsichord, and Michael Shawgo, director of music and organist at First United Methodist, played the church’s restored 1925 Skinner organ.

First United Methodist Church has sponsored the annual Sing-Along Messiah for the past nine years as a holiday gift to the community, as well as a means to raise funds for West Suburban PADS. The church has served as a weekly PADS shelter site since 1992. More information about the church’s global and local missions can be obtained through its Web site ( ).

The MacDowell Artists Association, a nonprofit organization of performing artists, holds musicales that allow members an opportunity to perform for appreciative audiences. An annual program awards scholarships to high school students who plan to further their music studies in college. For more information, please contact David Leehey at

We appreciate the support of all who played a role in our ninth annual Sing-Along Messiah. It is a wonderful way to share holiday joy, and help the less fortunate in our community.

Carol Milburn
First United Methodist Church
David Leehey
MacDowell Artists Association

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