The George Nelson Memorial Concert Series, “Rhythm by the River”, was initiated and endowed in 2007 in memory of and in tribute to Mr. Nelson, whose love of music resulted in a legacy to promote an outreach mission to members of Bethany UMC and to the community at large. It began with the procurement of a beautiful Steinway piano, and continues with regular presentations of talent in celebration. Mr. Nelson felt strongly that music is a vital part of the church to glorify our Lord and to recover the heart of worship. Spirit led, we celebrate in music the renewal only God can give. Our mission then, is that churches grow through mission, ministry, and music, and thus we shall.
Over the past eight years, our free concert series has included many notable artists, among them: The Manhattan Piano Trio, USAF Langley Winds, Poisoned Dwarf, The American Youth Harp Ensemble, Maria Von Trapp, Virginia Voices International, The Locrian Consort, The Virginia Mountain Boys, and most definitely an annual favorite, Rudy Shackelford, our esteemed church organist.
This year, in conjunction with the Philadelphia International Music Festival (PIMF), we have organized our first “Young Artists Music Competition” in which exceptional students can compete for scholarship money and the opportunity to attend the PIMF summer program at prestigious Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. Winning students will study with the principal players of the Philadelphia Philharmonic Orchestra thus connecting them with other national and international scholarship competitions.
The concert series, since its beginning, continues to provide a musical outlet for worship, the venue for entertainment by established musicians, and an exceptional opportunity for new young talent to enhance their musical education and refine their performance skills. We warmly wish to invite you to come and enjoy the many wonderful and diverse upcoming concerts and events.