Lent is a time of introspection as Christians prepare for Easter.
Many churches hold weekly periods of Bible study to help believers through the 40-day period of reflection on their lives and the life of Jesus.
About 12 years ago, musician Asa Carns considered another way for Christians to take some time out of their day to consider what God means to them.
He began organizing musical programs called the Lenten Box Bach Series that are held during the noon hour on Wednesdays during the Lenten season.
Through the years, the series has moved twice with Providence Presbyterian Church, 2401 Broad St., serving as host for the first time this year.
Each concert will begin with a devotional and prayer led by the Rev. Dennis Braun, pastor at Providence.
If you go
The Lenten Box Bach Concert Series will be held at 12:15 p.m. Wednesdays at Providence Presbyterian Church, 2401 Broad Ave.
The concerts are:
Feb. 20 - Asa W. Carns, piano and organ.
Feb. 27 - Leslie Beers with Suzuki Friends.
March 6 - Duets by Betty Wingert, piano, and Asa W. Carns, organ.
March 13 - Jim White, baritone.
March 20 - Judy Moore, flute.
March 27 - Ginger Reinhardt, soprano.
The service is open to all faith traditions and listeners are invited to silently read Scripture from the Bibles in the pews or perhaps using the church hymnal to follow the words of a song being presented.
Carns of Clearfield believes it is important to continue the series because of the responses he and other musicians receive.
Sometimes people are so moved by the music, they cannot speak after a concert, he said.
"You touch them," Carns said. "That's what it is all about."
The idea for the series began about 20 years ago when Carns was talking with a clergy friend about giving up something for Lent.
He said he realized he could give up his time and help people on their faith journey through the lunch hour concerts.
Although food was available through a restaurant or church support during past concerts, Providence will not provide a means to receive a meal.
Carns said people may bring a lunch and eat it in the social hall, outside the sanctuary.
A moveable wall separating the two areas will be lifted so people can dine and enjoy the music.
The lineup of musicians for this year's series include children playing violins,vocalists and a flutist.
Carns will perform in three of the concerts.
He will begin the series on Wednesday with piano and organ meditations, team up with pianist Betty Wingert on March 6 and join baritone Jim White on March 13. Rounding out the series are Leslie Beers with Suzuki Friends (children playing violins) on Feb. 27, Judy Moore on flute on March 20 and soprano Ginger Reinhardt on March 27.
White and Carns have known each other since 1994, when Carns was accompanist for the State College Choral Society and the Pennsylvania Chamber Chorale. White is a member of both groups.
Through the years, they would perform at Christmas Eve services here and there, White said.
About five years ago, they began performing together under the name Jimasa and were part of the entertainment at a Pennsylvania Pink Zone fashion show in October to help the Penn State Lady Lions raise money to fight breast cancer.
White, who teaches voice and "Intro to Western Art Music" at Penn State Altoona, said he has been singing at the Lenten concerts for about 10 years.
He will perform new melodies to traditional hymns when he sings at Providence, including "Oh Love That Will Not Let Me Go," arranged by John Ness Beck.
White said listeners have told him that the music helps them focus on spiritual and sacred thoughts.
"People say, 'What you and Asa did helps us to sense God's presence in our journey through Lent,'" White said.
Carns also will do a concert with Betty Wingert of Luthersburg.
Wingert, who is the organist at First Presbyterian Church in DuBois, said she enjoys doing concerts with Carns.
She originally studied under Carns years ago to sharpen her playing skills.
Carns said they will perform a "symphony of spirituals" during their concert.
He said they will play "Go Down Moses" with the organ and piano exchanging the melody throughout the piece.
Carns said he tries to present experiences that listeners would not necessarily hear on a Sunday during the concerts.
He said people might recognized the title of a piece, but the arrangement might be one they have never heard before.
For his solo concert, he has chosen songs of his faith, ones that express what he is all about.
"It will be music from my soul to theirs," he said.