International concert and dinner to be held at Willow Grove Church in Scotch Plains on March 21 will benefit local food banks and disaster victims

Members of the Music from China Youth Orchestra will perform on authentic Chinese instruments at the International Dinner and Chinese Music Concert Benefit onSaturday March 21 at Willow Grove Presbyterian Church.
Members of the Music from China Youth Orchestra will perform on authentic Chinese instruments at the International Dinner and Chinese Music Concert Benefit on Saturday March 21 at Willow Grove Presbyterian Church.

SCOTCH PLAINS — At the 9th Annual International Dinner and Concert at Willow Grove Presbyterian Church in Scotch Plains,  people can enjoy international cuisine and listen to vocal and instrumental music from China while providing food and help for neighbors in need.

This annual event will be held on Saturday, March 21, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Half of the funds raised will be donated to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey in Hillside and half will be donated to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance for their work to help victims of disasters in the U.S.A. and around the world.

The International Dinner in Ryno Hall will feature an array of ethnic specialties, including Italian, Chinese, Greek, German, Korean, Scottish, Irish, English, West Indian and Polish. The dishes will be made by members and friends of Willow Grove Church.

Complementing the cuisine will be performances by the Chinese American Music Ensemble Adult Chorus and Children’s Chorus and the Music From China Youth Orchestra.

Both groups hold their weekly rehearsals at Willow Grove Church. The Music From China Youth Orchestra features young musicians who perform on authentic Chinese instruments. The orchestra performs an annual concert at Carnegie Hall, and has played at the Freer Gallery of Art at the Smithsonian Institute and toured Shanghai.

CAME is the only choral program in New Jersey that offers choral music training for children and adults at the same time and place. CAME seeks to enrich and broaden cultural horizons through music training and provide community service through concert performances.

According to Willow Grove’s Pastor, Rev. Cynthia Cochran-Carney, the International Dinner is an annual event at Willow Grove Church that reflects the vision of the church. “Helping neighbors near and far who are in need is central to our Christian faith, so each year we raise money for organizations that provide basic needs of food, shelter and disaster relief,” she said.

“Willow Grove Church has a growing Ministry of Music and the Arts from a variety of traditions and cultures. God has shown us ways we can build bridges of hope and understanding that involve people of all ages making music together. This is the reason we are home to many musical groups and events, including Music from China and CAME.”

Tickets for dinner and concert are $14 for adults and teens, $7 for children 6 to 12, free for children 5 and under, with a family maximum of $36. To guarantee a seat for the dinner, buy a ticket in advance because space is limited.

Tickets will only be available at the door if seats are not already sold out. Purchase tickets by calling the church office at 908-232-5678, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. More information is available by email at

The Willow Grove Presbyterian Church is located at 1961 Raritan Road in Scotch Plains. All church facilities are handicapped-accessible.