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January 8, 2004

Folk concert to benefit deaf ministry

From: Alameda Times-Star, CA - Jan 8, 2004

By Melissa Evans, STAFF WRITER

HE'S a famous folk singer who has personal ties to the deaf community.

It's a local church trying to reach out to the Tri-City area's large deaf population.

Bringing John McCutcheon to town for a concert that will benefit St. James Episcopal Church's deaf ministry outreach program seems like the perfect pairing, church leaders say.

"He really has a heart for doing work with the deaf community," said the Rev. Bob Honeychurch, church rector. "It was a pleasant side benefit for us."

McCutcheon, who has produced more than 25 albums in as many years, has garnered five consecutive Grammy nominations and has been featured on independent radio throughout the world, promoters say.

He also has produced documentary and education recordings, written for numerous publications, chaired literacy campaigns and promoted grassroots organizations throughout the world.

His latest releases include "Hail to the Chief" and "The Greatest Story Never Told."

In the early 1980s, McCutcheon toured with Susan Freundlich, a sign-language interpreter, in a tour called "Sign of the Times." He also authored a song called "Music in your Hands," a tribute to the work of sign-language interpreters who perform in concert.

McCutcheon's sister, Patti McCutcheon, also a sign-language interpreter, founded the American Sign Language club at Winona State University in Wisconsin.

At St. James, leaders are trying to reach out to the Tri-City area's large deaf population, which has flourished largely because Fremont is home to one of the nation's largest deaf schools, the California School for the Deaf.

One of the church's services each Sunday is interpreted in American Sign Language, and church leaders hope to provide additional services in the future, Honeychurch said.

"We want to work with the deaf community to establish more opportunities," he said.

Advance tickets for the concert are $20 for adults and $15 for children. At the door, tickets are $25 for adults and $20 for children. The concert is at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the church, 37051 Cabrillo Terrace at the corner of Thornton Avenue, Fremont.

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