Christmas at Augusta Stone was founded in 1997 by Richard Adams and David Tate as a fundraiser for the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. They organized the entire program for 5 years, and when the work became just too great to continue, Mabel Lou Weiss stepped up and became the director for the following 5 years, carefully recruiting a variety of helpers to pull off a concert of this size, which at times was " standing room only ". At the end of her 5th year Mabel Lou recruited Brenda Remis to take over as director, which made good sense, being a member of Augusta Stone, and the fact that many of the volunteers required were also members of the Church. In 2012, Sandy Greene and Pat Hunt co-directed the concert.
Christmas at Augusta Stone has become a beloved event by the community of Augusta County. It is a significant fundraiser, receiving free-will offerings half-way throught the concert and depending on economic times has raised between $4,200 and S7,000. Beginning with a prelude that can vary from hand bells, a cappella singing, organ music, skits and intrumental pieces, the show normally has 3 groups featured, some of which return year after year because of their popularity, including the Boogie Kings and Rhythm Road. The organist always plays 2 traditional Hymns in the program. A representative from the Food Bank gives statistics at half-time of the need for food in our community, which is ever growing and enlightening to those who do not know hunger.
It takes months to prepare for a concert of this magnitude ( up to 300 people have attended ) and the generous volunteers of Augusta Stone Church help to make it happen, from providing a light meal for the performers, to parking, lighting inside and out, decorating with poinsettias gifted by Driver Brothers Nursery ( which are usually sold out at the end of the show and that money also goes to the Food Bank ). There are people who are greeters and help with additional seating, cleanup after the concert and safely locking up the church. There are still many wonderful volunteers from outside the church family who arrange staging, advertising, counting the money and getting it safely in the hands of the Food Bank. Let us not forget the generosity of the performers. When it comes to Christmas at Augusta Stone, it really " takes a village " to make it happen.
This year's concert will be Monday, December 9.