A Talent for Feeding the Hungry

Dr. Nies and his students.Anyone can find some way to help SoSA feed the hungry. But very few can do so by playing The Complete Keyboard Partitas of Johann Sebastian Bach! This most-creative approach was taken on last November by long-time supporter, Dr. Craig Nies, when he presented two benefit concerts, performed by some of his students at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music.

In the photo, students who played in the concerts pose with their teacher. Left-to-right: Kazuki Takizawa, Thomas Ridgway, June Kim, Craig Nies, and William Woodard. Ridgway is a designated “Young Steinway Artist.” Not shown are Zachary Kleiman and David Rodgers.

Nies has personally contributed to SoSA for many years. He also likes to tell others about SoSA’s hunger ministry, and to send SoSA’s alternative Christmas cards to friends and students. Last year, he realized he had a way to involve his talents, and those of his students, to both raise money for SoSA, and to let more people know about efforts to feed the hungry.

Nies arranged a piano concert on November 7 at Steinway’s Alabama Piano Gallery in Birmingham, and another on November 15 at the Steinway Piano Gallery in Nashville. The audience, hungry for outstanding classical piano, also learned more about the Society of St. Andrew, and their concert donations supported SoSA’s Tennessee Regional Office.

“I wanted to help those in my own community and in Tennessee,” Nies said, “While there are many charities that provide food for the poor, I wanted one that is faith-based. SoSA is highly rated by Charity Navigator, one resource I have always used.”

Nies has been on the faculty of the Blair School since 1991, having previously taught at the Yale School of Music. While at Yale, he performed the complete solo works of Debussy, broadcast by National Public Radio. His performances have also been heard in Russia, England, and Germany.

Linda Tozer, SoSA’s Tennessee regional director said, “We were truly blessed and grateful to Dr. Nies and his students for presenting such wonderful programs that enriched our lives and assisted our efforts in telling the SoSA story.” Nies said, “Anything I can do to promote SoSA and help even in a small way is worthwhile.”

By searching for “Craig Nies” on YouTube, you can view many of his performances.


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In the event I, or a registered family member, suffers any illness or accident requiring emergency hospitalization, medication, or other medical assistance while participating in a gleaning event, permission is given for any medical treatment which is deemed necessary and reasonable under the circumstances. I fully understand and comprehend that reasonable care will be exercised by the adult staff for this gleaning event to protect the safety of those involved. I understand that the field supervisor’s instructions must be followed at all times, and that I am responsible for any damages caused to fields, farms, or equipment by me/my family members not following these instructions.

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How the Story of the 12 Baskets is Connected to SoSA’s Name

Matthew 14:16-21

But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!” They said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” And He said, “Bring them here to Me.” Ordering the people to sit down on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds, and they all ate and were satisfied. They picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve full baskets. There were about five thousand men who ate, besides women and children.

2 Kings 4:42-44

[…]the man of God […] said, “Give them to the people that they may eat.” His attendant said, “What, will I set this before a hundred men?” But he said, “Give them to the people that they may eat, for thus says the Lord, ‘They shall eat and have some left over.’” So he set it before them, and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the Lord.

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