Youths Organized Relief Concert For Hurricane Victims

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Members of TwentyThirty plan the “One Sound” concert.

BY TRONE DOWD

A faith-based young adult group in Jamaica is bringing together some of the biggest talents in Southeast Queens to help those affected by 2017’s devastating hurricane season.

First Presbyterian Church, located at 89-60 164th St., and its youth group, TwentyThirty, is organizing a benefit concert in their own backyard. Tentatively dubbed “One Sound,” the concert will ask concertgoers to donate a minimum of $5 to attend. The proceeds will help the victims of hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Rev. Chris De La Cruz, associate pastor of First Presbyterian, and leaders of the TwentyThirty group, told the PRESS of Southeast Queens that the concert was the brainchild of several members who are plugged into Jamaica’s performing arts scene.

“Some members of our group are in touch with local artists and they wanted to do something good to help their community,” De La Cruz said. “They wanted to feature local Jamaica Queens artists as well as help the people who are in need on the island nations.”

De La Cruz said that the group pooled their skills and talents together to create something that accomplished both goals.

The TwentyThirty group has been proactive at First Presbyterian. In addition to trying to better its community, the group often creates discussions that bridge the gap between pop culture—typically associated with youth—and faith. Recently, TwentyThirty gathered for brunch and discussed Jay-Z and Beyonce’s most recent albums, and how they relate to “faithfulness, relationships and God.” The group holds the brunch every third Tuesday of the month.

The concert will feature numerous contemporary genres.

“It’s a mix of classic gospel, step routine by local high school step team ‘Hype,’ spoken word, hip-hop and R&B,” De La Cruz said. “This is our very first time doing something like this.”

Rev. Patrick O’Connor, First Presbyterian’s head pastor, said that he was proud of the work of his young parishioners.

“The One Sound Benefit Concert is an example of solidarity with our sisters and brothers in Puerto Rico,” O’Connor told the PRESS of Southeast Queens. “It reminds us that we are all part of a bigger family and we need each other to survive. That’s what the mission of [First Presbyterian] is all about—embracing each other in good times and tough times.”

One of the organizers, Minister Lawrence Coles, is working with fellow TwentyThirty member Zaleika Johnson to enlist the talent for the show. Coles promised a unique and varied show.

“This concert is going to bring together different people from different walks of life, and they’ll be bringing their gifts and talents together to do good in the world,” he said.

Various Southeast Queens organizations have been pitching in all month to help hurricane victims. Earlier this month, the PRESS of Southeast Queens reported that medical experts at Jamaica Hospital recently took a trip to Puerto Rico to aid in relief efforts. That same week, several members of the New York City Council, including I. Daneek Miller (D-St. Albans) and Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton), helped with construction efforts, distributing resources and fixing plumbing.

The concert will take place on Dec. 9 at 7 p.m. at Magill Hall, located at 89-60 164th St.

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