Wednesday, December 23, 2015


This was posted on j curt Browns website Sunday evening.  He played in the noon recital at St. Sebastian on Tuesday last:

Spectacular performance tonight of Handel's Messiah (Part 1) at St. Sebastian's Parish, Akron. What a heavenly venue for a heavenly performance under the direction of Lynn Frey-Steward, St Sebastian's music director, and Dr. Samuel Gordon, artistic director of Singers Companye. The exceptional choirs of St. Sebastian's and Singers Companye (a very large perfectly-balanced choir in combination) were accompanied by string orchestra and organ continuo on St S's new small tracker-action baroque organ at the front of the church from where the choirs performed rather than in the rear gallery.
Superb vocal soloists were soprano Rachel Morrison, mezzo-soprano  Laura Williams, counter-tenor James Schreck, tenor Kyle Kelvington and bass David Aberth. St Sebastian's has cathedral-like acoustics. The great gift to the community for the season. Packed house. I never use the exclamation "awesome" but this WAS awesome.  

1 comment:

MaryofSharon said...

I can't believe no one commented on this. That concert was wonderful! And to have a full house (including Evangelical Christians!) listening to that oratorio in your own parish - how could the Sunday for Christmas be better for a pastor!?

What a perfect last-days-of-Advent meditation. It strikes me that the Messiah (and pieces like it) teach us how to pray, to ruminate on the words, taking our time and repeating key phrases; an then it is magnified by beautiful music in which the composer expresses the meaning and emotions of each phrase. One suggestion would be to give the audience a copy of the libretto. I brought mine a long and it makes all the difference being able to understand every word as you hear how it is expressed in the music.

This is a good a place to throw in my daughter's description of the value of chorale music in her life inspired by a rehearsal of Mozart's Requiem which she sang with the Scottish choir to which she now belongs while she is in grad school over there:

"Guys, music is incredible. Honestly. Participating in vocal performances, whether solo, choral, or staged, has been beyond formative in my life. I owe so much of who I currently am, and a huge part of my theology/faith, to the role that music has played in my life. I know there's a lot of the world left for me to see/experience, but I've yet to find anything so perfectly fulfilling, transcendant, and astonishingly beautiful as the moment where a choral ensemble becomes one ethereal voice, mixing notes to create expressions that I am absolutely convinced cannot be the product of a Godless world.

"Even in rehearsal tonight, we picked up a lovely French arrangement of 'Ubi Caritas' to take a break from dear Wolfgang, and it was just striking. I don't know how to explain it to someone who hasn't experienced it, but I know that (especially after 6+ months without it) I don't want to ever have a life without that in it. Choral music especially has this incredibly powerful effect of making you no longer an individual voice, but simply a tributary to this greater masterpiece. And once that process is underway, your individual stresses and concerns cease to exist... you're a living instrument in a swelling symphony.

"I can keep throwing adjectives all day but honestly I'll never be able to do the experience justice so I'm just going to stop trying and spare you the reading. Basically, what Victor Hugo said. It's an incredibly powerful art form and I'm luckier than I will ever fully comprehend to be able to participate on the level that I have.

"Additional benefits of music: Take the Beethoven or Mozart for example. How else can you participate that perfectly in a piece of history? You're literally bringing the past to life, and filling a hall with the exact sounds that people were creating and enjoying hundreds and hundreds of years ago. Is that not the coolest? (I obviously think so.) Close your eyes next time you're at a symphony (choral or orchestral), and go back in time. It's awesome."

What a gift you give to your parishioners to be able to participate in such an experience!

How about Lenten production of the rest of the Messiah???