Village Presbyterian fall concert ‘The Peacemakers’ celebrates culture, raises funds for people at U.S.-Mexico border

The Peacemakers
‘The Peacemakers,’ a fall concert by Village Presbyterian Church in Prairie Village, is set for 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4.

In a turbulent time such as this in U.S. history, Village Presbyterian Church simply wants to spread the message of peace.

As such, the church has planned a fall concert which embraces this concept of peacemaking. Meanwhile, all donations received at this free concert go toward helping those along the U.S.-Mexico border who “desperately need it.”

“The Peacemakers” is set for 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4, at Village Presbyterian Church, 6641 Mission Road, Prairie Village.

The fall concert is named for one of the Beatitudes, Matthew 5:9, which reads, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

“In this divided political time, it’s a concert where we’re asking questions and trying to be peacemakers,” said Will Breytspraak, director of music at the church. “We’re asking of God and each other and ourselves, ‘How can we as a society help?’ We’re trying to just ask questions and look inward and care about the people who are suffering on both sides of our border.”

Concert donations support Frontera de Cristo

The Peacemakers
The choir at Village Presbyterian Church is preparing for its fall concert Sunday.

Breytspraak said “The Peacemakers” is much more than a free concert — 100 percent of donations received at the concert will go to Frontera de Cristo, a border ministry that is one of the Village Presbyterian Church’s many ministries.

“It simply tries to help people that desperately need it, whether it’s needing food, water, clothing, shoes, preventative medical care, various social services,” Breytspraak said, adding that the church has a group of people that will visit the ministry soon to help out.

The concert features a combination of “fun, joyful” spiritual and secular music, including several movements of “Missa Latina,” tango pieces with a “fusion of jazz.” The choir and chamber choir at Village Presbyterian Church, as well as soloists and an orchestra of violin, accordion, stand-up bass and drums comprise the full ensemble of musical talent.

Breytspraak said the concert is designed to “celebrate the richness of a culture to the south.”

“We want to leave people with a happy outlook and inspired to be peacemakers in whatever way they individually are inspired,” he said. “We’re not telling people what to think; we’re just trying to lead by asking questions, giving people a place to ponder this stuff in a way that might be spiritual, or it might be constructive.”

Destiny Ann Mermagen, violinist for the concert, said the idea behind this concert, for her, is the beauty of music “as a universal language, even though it’s cliche to say it.”

“There doesn’t need to be anything political about music; music just speaks for itself,” Mermagen said. “Certainly, music has been political in the past, if composers have a certain ideology they want to portray in their music, but in this case, just celebrating the music. It’s a universal language that we can all understand without the attachments of ‘you think this way’ or ‘you think that way.’ Everyone can come together with music.”