Providence Presbyterian Church, 2401 Broad Ave., will offer a time for meditation and reflection during Lent by hosting the "Bach" Box Lunch Concert Series for the second year.
The annual event was started by organist Asa W. Carns more than a decade ago and has been held in several different churches in the Altoona area.
The Rev. Dennis Braun, pastor of Providence Church, said, "It's a wonderful program, and people really enjoy it."
He said although Carns is no longer serving as interim organist at the church, he was willing to do the Lenten luncheons which were such a success last year.
"Providence church is very musically oriented," he said, adding that it welcomes opportunities to offer special music to the community.
The concert series will be held at noon each Wednesday during Lent with different musicians offering sacred selections for listeners in observance of the days leading up to Easter.
If you go
What: "Bach" Box Lunch Concert Series
When: Noon, Wednesdays from March 5 to April 16 with lunch served from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Where: Providence Presbyterian Church, 2401 Broad Ave.
Cost: A donation
"The various guest artists provide the audience with live music in a religious space where they can draw closer to God in prayful meditation," Carns said.
"Most of the music is sacred," he said. "Some selections will be secular instrumental pieces that allow the listener to escape from the fast pace of our lives."
In addition to the music, Braun will read Scripture and offer a Lenten meditation and prayer each week.
"We hope our music encourages everyone to take some time to explore truly being in an environment to reflect on the Lenten meditation presented by Pastor Braun," Carns said.
He said some weeks Scripture is brought to life by sacred texts being sung by the vocalists. Other weeks, the instrumental selections offer sounds to stir emotions, he said. Each week, one of the selections will be music by Johann Sebastian Bach.
In the past, an opportunity to eat lunch while taking in the music has been provided. This year is no exception.
The Congregational Fellowship Committee of Providence Presbyterian Church will provide a lunch of bread and soup from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the social hall next to the sanctuary. Donations will be accepted for the lunch.
"This will allow listeners to eat while the concerts are going on," Carns said. The concerts last an hour.
Among the vocalists taking part in the series is Julie Hanlon, a soprano, from Hollidaysburg. She is a teacher of voice and piano at Grier School where she serves as accompanist for the choir and other events.
Hanlon also directs the contemporary choir at St. Michael's Catholic Church in Hollidaysburg, where works by contemporary Christian artists, such as Steven Curtis Chapman, are played.
She will sing April 2 and is expected to offer traditional solo pieces mixed in with upbeat ones.
"It will be a mix of classical and contemporary music," she said.
The schedule for the series is:
March 5 - Carns will play meditations on the pipe organ or piano. His selections will feature familiar music and modern harmonies.
March 12 - Betty Wingert, pianist from Luthersburg, will perform duets with Carns on the organ. They will play new arrangements of favorite hymns.
March 19 - Ginger Reinhardt and her spouse, Aaron Ort, will sing classical vocal selections along with gospel pieces. Reinhardt is a soprano and Ort is a tenor. Both teach at the Grier School.
March 26 - Jim White, a bass-baritone, is a teacher at Penn State Altoona. He will sing pieces based on hymn tunes and Scriptural texts.
April 2 - Hanlon will do traditional pieces with upbeat works mixed in.
April 9 - Julie Moore, a flutist, is from State College where she gives private lessons and is part of a flute ensemble.
She will present classics as well as contemporary Christian melodies.
April 16 - Carns concludes the series with music that focuses on Holy Week on the organ and piano.
Although the concerts are free, Carns said donations help to offset costs. He said several patrons and sponsors support the series, allowing it to continue each year.
In addition to being held in Altoona, the concert series has expanded. It will be repeated at noon Fridays at Faith United Church of Christ, 300 E. College Ave., State College, where Carns serves as organist.