Second Congregational Church hosts musical benefit for charity

From left, Kreg Gotschall, Jeremiah Patterson and Greenwich resident Arnold Stancell perform with the Just For Men’s Chorus in a tribute to Barry Manilow, a highlight of the 12th annual Second Congregational Church gala to benefit Greenwich-based Heart Care International.

From left, Kreg Gotschall, Jeremiah Patterson and Greenwich resident Arnold Stancell perform with the Just For Men’s Chorus in a tribute to Barry Manilow, a highlight of the 12th annual Second Congregational Church gala to benefit Greenwich-based Heart Care International.

Second Congregational Church takes matters of the heart seriously.

On Feb. 1, the church held its 12th annual musical benefit and Valentine’s Day Gala and raised more than $112,000 for Heart Care International (HCI). More than 100 people attended the benefit in support, and all proceeds went towards supporting HCI’s work.

The benefit combined singing, dancing, a home-cooked dinner and fellowship. The meal was prepared and served by the Men’s Fellowship. The church’s Just for Men Chorus provided the musical entertainment for the evening, performing classic Barry Manilow songs, including Mandy, I Write the Songs, Can’t Smile Without You, Copacabana and Weekend in New England.

HCI is a nonprofit life-saving organization the church has worked with since its inception in 1994. Based in Greenwich, it was founded by church member Robert Michler of Riverside with church sponsorship and the support of many other church members. It provides pro bono surgical and medical care to children in developing countries. To date, the nonprofit has helped more than 1,100 children with heart disease and performed heart surgery on more than 800 children in Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Peru.

Dr. Michler is an internationally renowned heart surgeon, author and lecturer. He is Surgeon-in-Chief at Montefiore Medical Center and Albert Einstein College of Medicine, as well as Chairman of Surgery and Chairman of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery.

HCI team members travel from throughout the U.S. to participate in missions. More than 300 volunteers have helped save the lives of children over the last 20 years. Heart Care International conducted five trips to El Salvador, the Dominican Republic and Peru last year, and a similar number of lifesaving missions are planned for 2014. Michler and his team left for Lima, Peru, on Feb. 9 for a week of surgery.

Many local longtime supporters contributed to this year’s gala’s success. Chris Combe of Greenwich, an HCI board member, served as event chair. Others playing key roles included Alexander Constantine, director of Music at the church, and Kunduck Moon of Greenwich and Fort Lee, N.J., who led the team that prepared the meal. Joining Moon as chefs were Men’s Fellowship members Andrew J. LaSala Jr. of Wilton, James Marmon of Cos Cob, Matt Singleton of Greenwich, Chris Starr of Old Greenwich and Roger Swayze of Ossining, N.Y.

To learn more about Second Congregational Church, visit 2cc.org or call 203-869-9311, ext. 120.

For more information on Heart Care International, including how to donate, visit Heartcareintl.org, call 203-552-5343 or email [email protected]

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