St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church

KidWorks Avanti students to perform at St. Andrew's Pres. Church

Summer just wouldn’t be complete without a chance to attend a free music concert featuring the talented students in the KidWorks Avanti Music program.

“A Conversation with KidWorks” is Sunday, July 22, at 12:30 p.m., at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, located at 600 St. Andrews Road in Newport Beach immediately following the 11:11am service.

In addition to hearing our students perform, the program will feature touching stories shared by KidWorks youth, parents and volunteers.

“So many cities in Orange County are really just a short drive from KidWorks four centers in Santa Ana, and we hope the ‘Afternoon with KidWorks’ event will inspire not only St. Andrew’s members to consider volunteering at KidWorks, but anyone in the region who wants to lend a hand,” says Lisa Gels, our Manager of Partnerships & Donor Relations.  “You, your family and friends will fit right in with our warm and welcoming families and team.”

Lisa adds that holding the concert at St. Andrew’s is part of the church’s long partnership with KidWorks, including holding “serve days” where church members help clean and refurbish our Dan Donahue Center, rummage sales and volunteering as tutors.

Greg Chao, a church member, has been volunteering at KidWorks since March.  This most recent school term, he’s tutored a fifth grader in math and a high school student in physics.

“I see firsthand how valuable serving as a tutor is for these hard-working students,” Greg says.  “One student told me she has no one else to turn to for homework help.  The need is great, and I know church members would have a lot to contribute as volunteers at KidWorks.”

KidWorks Avanti Music was founded in 2012 by Joe Cristina, a professional musician with 38 years of experience in composition, arranging, orchestration and production.

“I know that ‘A Conversation with KidWorks’ is going to really impress everyone who attends when they see the level of talent and scholarship within the KidWorks Avanti students,” Joe says.  “Our program is aboutusing art and music to express your inner feelings, faith and observations about your surroundings.”

No advance reservations are needed to attend “An Afternoon with KidWorks.”  We warmly invite you to enjoy the music and learn more about KidWorks.

St. Andrew's Comes to KidWorks for a Serve Day!

Thank you St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church for coming to KidWorks for your Serve Day 2016. KidWorks has been a long time ministry partner of St. Andrew's and on Saturday, September 17th,  many members of their congregation came to our Dan Donahue Center for a Serve Day. 

Volunteers hosted a carnival for our families and participated in reading buddies with our K-5th grade students. Another team of volunteers revamped our storage space to accommodate more instruments for our music program, Avanti. 

Avanti leader, Joe Cristina, led a group of volunteers in working directly with our music students and we ever had a parenting workshop.

Here are some photos from our event! 

Worship and Concert at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church Feature Our Gifted Musicians

As the pews filled up at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach this past weekend, over 1,200 worshipers were in for a delightful surprise.

They were about to enjoy a Sunday concert and Sunday worship service featuring students from KidWorks’ Avanti program, who joined with Brandon Muchow, St. Andrew’s Minister of Modern Worship & Production, and several other professional studio musicians.

It all came together thanks to the efforts of KidWorks’ volunteer Joe Cristina, who began a KidWorks music program in 2012 called Avanti Music.  In Joe, the students learn from a professional musician with 37 years of experience in composition, arranging, orchestration and production.  

“The ‘KidWorks/Avanti Music Concert’ was a bilingual presentation, and therefore was a true bridge-builder since residents from Newport Beach and Santa Ana worshipped together,” Joe says. 

There are 18 KidWorks students currently participating in the Avanti program.  Those who performed at the St. Andrews concert included Lilian Ramirez (vocals) Liliana Ledezma (vocals and flute), Melisa Luis (piano), Julie Cons (violin) and Luis Lopez (guitar). 

The second event was held in the church chapel, and was equally well received. Lilian Ramirez joined Brandon Muchow and Hector Rivera on vocals.  Emily Barrios, 12-years-old, recently joined Avanti, and she joined in on percussion and vocals.

David Benavides, Executive Director, KidWorks & Councilmember, City of Santa Ana, also spoke to the congregation, sharing KidWorks’ story.

Dan Wendell, Minister of Missions & Outreach at St. Andrews says he is delighted with the result:   “Having the students up front, leading through worship was a beautiful example of extending the family and valuing them as part of our community.  I was particularly encouraged to learn that as a result of Avanti’s work, Lilian Ramirez, one of the vocalists, will be leaving for San Francisco State University to study music in just a few weeks. The ministry is changing lives." 

Lilian and our Avanti students are equally grateful to Joe and the staff at St. Andrews for providing them with such a special opportunity to perform.

"I couldn't get this experience anywhere else than KidWorks and Avanti,” she says.

Knowing Joe’s commitment to Avanti and our students, we can’t help but say, “Encore!” to him and “Bravo!” to St. Andrews for providing such an extraordinary opportunity.

I just wanted to celebrate a great collaboration between Gather and Send in featuring the students of Avanti/Kidworks at the 5:30 and 11:11 services. Having the students up front, leading through worship was a beautiful example of extending the family and valuing them as part of our community. I was particularly encouraged to learn that as a result of Avanti’s work, one of the vocalists will be leaving for San Francisco State to study music in just a few weeks. The ministry is changing lives.
— Dan Wendell, Missions Pastor

By Glenn Leibowitz, Volunteer Content Writer 

KidWorks’ Halls Are Alive With the Beautiful Sound of Our Students’ Music!

“Music has always been part of my life, and as I grew older I decided to make it my career,” says Shellsea, a 17-year-old high school senior and KidWorks’ student.

Shellsea’s dream is well on its way to becoming true.

She is one of 18 youth who participate in a KidWorks program called Avanti, founded in 2012 by volunteer Joe Cristina.  In Joe, the students learn from a professional musician with 37 years of experience in composition, arranging, orchestration and production.

Joe and KidWorks also thank St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach for their strong support of our music program.

“Avanti is designed to guide serious, college-bound students to reach their artistic goals by gaining performance and theoretical experience by working with music industry professionals,” Joe explains.

Avanti offers performance experience and college preparatory music classes, along with exposure to music genres that include pop, rock, jazz, sacred, classical, Latin and world music.

Lilian is an 18-year-old high school senior enrolled in Avanti.  She shares Shellsea’s goal of becoming a musician.

“Avanti has given me access to so many things I never had access to before,” she says.  “I am getting so much help with my musical future!”

Liliana, a 17-year-old high school student and KidWorks youth adds:  “I could not afford such musical training on my own.  Avanti has given me more than just the material instruments to pursue music.  I have also been given the opportunity to perform what I love and to express myself.”

The students also get a chance to build their musical confidence in front of live audiences.  They've performed at Steamers Jazz Club, Village of Hope, Santa Ana street fairs and St. Andrew’s Church.

We are so grateful to Joe and St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church for helping our youth to develop their God-given talent for music.

 

By Glenn Leibowitz, KidWorks Community Volunteer and Content Writer