Photo courtesy of Ignite Youth Choir on Facebook.GODFREY - Ignite Youth Choir will kick off their tenth season with a free concert on Sunday, May 19, 2024, at Godfrey United Methodist Church.

Located at 1100 Airport Road, Godfrey United Methodist Church supports the 40-person youth choir for middle schoolers and high schoolers throughout the Alton, Godfrey and Jerseyville area. Joe Leonard, director of the choir, noted that they hope to spread the love of Christ through their music.

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“The message that Christ lived and died for us is an awesome message, but when it comes from the youth, it just means a little bit more. It gives us hope for this generation and our future,” Leonard explained. “Our program this year is called ‘Love is Stronger,’ and they’re all songs about how, despite the increasingly divisive world we live in, Christ still thinks of us as one, and Him and the love He has for us is stronger than any of those differences.”

Ignite Youth Choir started in 2015 as a middle school choir. They quickly expanded to include high schoolers, as most of the eighth graders weren’t ready to leave Ignite behind when they entered high school.

These days, they have 40 students within the choir. Ignite Youth Choir begins rehearsals in February and performs throughout the summer, ending their season with a four-day trip to Branson to perform at churches and venues there.

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Leonard said their current program is 45 minutes long and includes ten songs, all memorized by the kids. He said it’s a casual environment where people come together to worship. The kids love to share their message through singing and minor choreography meant to enhance the songs, affectionately known as “choral-ography.”

Every program ends with the song “Go Light Your World,” which Leonard said challenges the audience to spread the love of Christ to their communities. He noted that some of the kids don’t have a religious background, but the choir allows them to engage with Christianity and connect with each other through song.

“I think for many of them, church is not a thing for them,” he explained. “But this is a place where they do come, and we’ve had kids that don’t go to church but they love singing about it. So Ignite will be their church. Their friends are all here. They come and they get to sing about the love that Christ has for them and then spread that message to everyone.”

Leonard hopes the audience decides to spread that message, too. He encourages community members to come to the performance on Sunday, May 19, 2024, and enjoy the music.

“Our challenge for every audience when we sing for them is we want to ignite that spark in people so they go out of the buildings that we’re singing in and they spread the love of Christ in their homes, in their businesses, in their schools and in their communities. We want to be that spark that ignites this wave of love and care that Christ has for us,” Leonard said. “It’s all come together, and we’re very excited to get our tenth season underway on Sunday.”

For more information about Ignite Youth Choir, visit their official Facebook page.

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