James Ramsey, Director of Music and Arts at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Highlands Ranch, Colorado founded the Wesley Festival in 2007 to create a high-profile event that brings people together to support a common cause and promote worthwhile charities. The first festival celebrated the tercentenary of the birth of the historic hymn writer and co-founder of “Methodism,” Charles Wesley.
Approximately 300 singers from across the nation and as far away as Seoul, Korea, flooded the stage for the inaugural benefit concert at New York’s Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, accompanied by the New Amsterdam Symphony Orchestra, and conducted by EphEhly, Professor Emeritus of the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Timothy Koch, Music Director of the Carolina Master Chorale, and Dr. Ramsey. Nearly 1,000 people attended the event, designed to benefit landmine removal in Angola. Titled A Thousand Tongues to Sing, the festival raised more than $27,000, which was delivered to the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR).
Dr. Ramsey’s vision for the future of the Wesley Festival will be to bring people together through music in venues nationwide to aid critical missions of the United Methodist Church. The 2015 festival will culminate in a gala concert at Washington D.C.’s John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, benefiting Imagine No Malaria, an extraordinary effort to reduce preventable deaths caused by malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa, especially the death of children and mothers. Through this program, the people of the United Methodist Church partner with global health leaders in a vision-driven and comprehensive fight against malaria, a killer disease rooted in systemic poverty. Though malaria is preventable and treatable, malaria claims a life in Africa every 60 seconds.
Imagine No Malaria distributes mosquito bed nets; trains community health workers to educate; and creates and coaches local health boards in wide-ranging health strategies, budgeting, and over site. Because of Imagine No Malaria, hospitals and rural clinics are equipped with life-saving medication and diagnostic kits. This multi-pronged approach revitalizes and strengthens the public health infrastructure ensuring long-term sustainability. Imagine No Malaria, is transforming individuals, families, communities, and nations through programs delivered by UMCOR, and through partnership with The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The impact of this work is seen all across Sub-Saharan Africa.
Join founder James Ramsey, guest conductor Helen Cha-Pyo of the Empire State Youth Orchestra, singers from around the world, and invited leaders and dignitaries of the United Methodist Church, Imagine No Malaria, and the United States, at the Kennedy Center for the 2015 Wesley Festival!