- Associated Press - Friday, May 30, 2014

UNIONTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A group of friends are coming together for a high school reunion this summer.

But it’s no ordinary reunion.

Members of the former NAACP Young Adult Choir - a high school choir that was active in the Uniontown area in the early 1990s - are reviving the choir for a concert that will benefit the East End United Community Center.

“The core of us were from the East End, and we’ve heard about the need in the East End,” said Bridgett Creach, concert organizer. “We’ve been hearing about the challenges the East End is facing and financial need of the community center.”

The concert will be held at 5 p.m. June 14 at the John Wesley A.M.E. Zion Church in Uniontown.

“It’s one of the churches we used to rehearse at,” Creach said. “It’s kind of sentimental for us.”

Trini Massie, a Uniontown Area High School graduate, formed the NAACP Young Adult Choir when he was a freshman in high school, Creach said.

He said it was an “inward calling” that prompted him to form the group.

The choir emerged from the NAACP Youth Club within the Uniontown Area High School and boasted about 54 members throughout its four years.

“It was great to be involved in something that wasn’t attached to school but kept us out of trouble,” Creach said.

The choir traveled to local churches in the area, as well as outside of the area to put on performances.

Creach recalled that the choir was overseen by two adult advisers, but it was more of a student-run group.

“We actually listened to him (Massie) and respected him as a leader among us,” Creach said. “It was really organized.”

Massie said that was the true miracle of the group.

“I had always been a church kid,” he said. “I liked to sing, and I brought my friends together to do it with me. They listened to me and respected me - that’s the miracle. They trusted me with their gifts and their spiritual lives.”

He said he will always be grateful to them because they allowed him to practice his gift.

“They were the experiment,” he said. “They let me practice on them. They are a major part of why I am who I am today.”

He said his peers in the group were more than just friends. They were family.

In addition to the choir, Creach and Massie agreed that leaders in the community were also a positive influence in their lives, and in the lives of their peers.

“There are some leaders who are are still there who encouraged us and supported us and showed us that we didn’t have to become a statistic,” she said. “And even if we did fall, there was still support for us. There was value from what we learned when we grew up.”

According to Creach, Massie, who is the Minister of Worship for the Mount Ararat Baptist Church in Pittsburgh, as well as the founder and executive director of 4 The Caz of Christ Productions, has visited his hometown church several times over the years but has recently talked about doing something on a larger scale.

And the idea for the benefit concert manifested itself.

He and Creach thought now was the perfect time to organize a benefit concert, after hearing about the violence in the community.

“Some choir members still live in Uniontown, and they’ve seen the violence firsthand,” Creach said. “There seems to be a lingering hopelessness in Uniontown. We want to make sure that it’s known that success does come out of here. We’re giving back to try to help the young people see more than what see on a daily basis.”

In addition to the ticket sales, there is a T-shirt campaign in conjunction with the concert.

The T-shirts will read “RUN” which stands for “Are you in?”

“Are you in to give back to move forward,” Creach said.

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Online:

http://bit.ly/1pqG47K

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Information from: Herald-Standard, http://www.heraldstandard.com/

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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