Sisters church offers free concert series


Last updated 7/4/2023 at 12:46pm

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Toast & Jam will kick off Sisters Community Church's summer concert series.

Sisters Community Church (SCC) is hosting its third annual summer concert series in July and August. The summer concert series, which started in 2020, offers outstanding performers from throughout the area.

The first concert in the series is Sunday, July 9 at 6 p.m., featuring Toast & Jam.

There is no admission cost. The church absorbs the cost of putting on the concerts.

The purpose of the concerts is two-fold. First, to invite all people from our community to gather in a welcoming, hospitable, friendly, and fun outdoor environment simply to meet people, to reunite with those we've not seen for some time, and to enjoy good music with people from all walks of life. It gives the church an opportunity to host something for the entire community.

The second reason is to provide a forum to support and create awareness of a different local nonprofit at each concert. The nonprofits are all from our community. They all have missions focused on serving those in need. In the past, those who've attended concerts have assisted youth, young mothers or mothers-to-be, honored veterans, provided support for the unhoused, supported those who fight against human trafficking right here in Deschutes County, and others.

The concert series started in the summer of 2020. Everyone was coming out of a long stretch of COVID-19 illnesses and restrictions. Businesses were struggling. Youth and parents were fatigued from online school and online work. Many had not seen friends or acquaintances for months. Isolation was real, especially for those who could not easily get out on their own. Many were at odds with neighbors and institutions regarding how best to, or not to, adhere to COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines. Political polarization was dividing friends and families. Leaders at Sisters Community Church wanted to create a forum where all could welcome each other and focus attention away from ourselves, and toward others who rely on local support to build up the community.

Steve Stratos, pastor at Sisters Community Church, said, "One of our goals is to be a church to the community, rather than simply a church located in the community. Two of our key purposes are to cultivate community, and care for people." Ryan Moffat, also a pastor at SCC, says, "Invite friends and neighbors. Let's be welcoming. Let's be hospitable. Let's not charge for attendance. Just come and be a part. See friends and meet new ones."

The original Toast & Jam duo was created a few years ago, when Jeff Miller and Ben Delery decided to get together to play some music. Not intending to start a band, the guys took a few gigs locally, playing their favorite songs from almost every genre of music. Just two guys and their friends and families who enjoy good music. But it was apparent to everyone who heard them that these two had something special. Someone even said they go together like "toast & jam."

And so the journey began.

Fast-forward four years, and the TNJ Band still features the one-of-a-kind vocal duo made up of Jeff Miller and Ben Delery, but now includes Russ Skelton and Bethany Willis. From the moment they start playing, they have a sound that's entirely their own. It's a little bluesy, a little country, and a lot of soul-infused magic. Brought together by a shared love of all styles of music, TNJ is known for their four-part harmonies and gritty vocals, held together by an upright bass, a fiddle, and two guitars. The group's sound isn't so much about the notes they sing or play, but more about how their music makes you feel. It doesn't matter if you're young or old or somewhere in between, there's something for everyone when this band plays.

The dates of the other concerts in the series are Sundays, July 23 (High Street Party Band), August 6 (Motel Kalifornia), and August 20 (Juju Eyeball). All concerts are at 6 p.m. and are held outdoors on the lawn looking out on the Three Sisters mountains.


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