We are excited to share the 2015-16 concert season with you! With the variety of concerts being offered this season, we truly have something that speaks to everyone. We hope you will come to experience and enjoy the gift of music here at First United Methodist Church of Orlando.
The Festival Singers of Florida Concert
Saturday, October 17, 2015 | 7:30 pm, Sanctuary
Kevin Fenton, conductor | The Festival Singers of Florida presents the Nairobi Chamber Chorus in joint concert. The concert will feature music from a variety of African traditions and music by American composers such as Eric Whitacre, Z. Randall Stroope and the University of Central Florida’s own David L. Brunner.
Choral Evensong: Into the Gates of Heaven
Sunday, November 1, 2015 | 7:30 pm, Sanctuary
Tony Chunn, conductor | To commemorate All Saints Sunday the choir will present a Choral Evensong: Into the Gates of Heaven. Anthems featured include Gustav Holst’s Psalm 146, Susan Brumfield’s No Time, Philip Stopford’s The Beatitudes and Bring Us, O Lord God by Paul Halley.
Gloria, A Christmas Concert
Monday, December 14, 2015 | 7:30 pm, Sanctuary
Tony Chunn, conductor | The Christmas Choir and Orchestra will present Gloria, a Christmas Celebration, guaranteed to delight the entire family. The concert will also feature children’s choirs, handbell choirs, and soloists.
The Chamber Singers Concert
Saturday, February 27, 2016 | 4:30 pm, Sanctuary
Beth Gibbs, conductor | The Chamber Singers of Florida Southern College to present Finding the Light. The Chamber Singers is the premiere touring choir of Florida Southern College. Composed of 40 undergraduate students majoring in a variety of fields, the Chamber Singers represents the highest caliber of student at Florida Southern and its Department of Music.
Organ Concert: Dongho Lee
Sunday, March 6, 2016 | 4:00 pm, Sanctuary
On Sunday, March 6 we present celebrated organist Dongho Lee. A native of Seoul, South Korea, Dongho Lee was awarded both the First Prize and the Audience Prize in the 2010 American Guild of Organists’ National Young Artists Competition.
Service of Darkness
March 25, 2016 | 7:00 pm, Sanctuary
The Chancel Choir will present a Service of Darkness on Good Friday. The service will feature timeless works, spirituals and new choral works.
First Church hosted the Concordia Choir from Moorhead, Minnesota, on March 1, 2015. Hailed as one of America’s finest a cappella choirs, the 75-voice choir has performed in nearly every major hall in the United States, including Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. The choir performed a piece in Estonian entitled, “Curse Upon Iron,” which offered an intriguing commentary on the dangers of war. They also sang many folk songs, spirituals and hymns. Composers on the program included Bach, Mozart, Gjello, Lauridsen and Christiansen. Their 2015 tour of the Southeast spanned 15 days and included locations between Pompano Beach, Florida, and Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The Watoto Children’s choir presented Beautiful Africa: A New Generation on January 24, 2015. The Watoto Children’s Choir is an African children’s choir based in Kampala, Uganda, at Watoto Church. It is composed of around eighteen children, mainly from Uganda. Watoto means “Children” in the Swahili language. The choir is made up of children who have lost one or both parents to the AIDS epidemic or to war. Their performances are a unique blend of native African rhythms, contemporary gospel music and ethnic dance. The choir has toured all over the world, including Canada, the United States, Europe, Asia, New Zealand, Israel, Japan, Brazil, The Netherlands, China, Germany and Australia.
The true spirit of the season resounded through the hall on Sunday, December 21, 2014, when First Church presented Noël, a musical celebration of Christmas that offered a fresh and inspiring look at this heartwarming time of year. From the prologue of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Hodie to Barlow Bradford’s “Pat-a-pan,” cries of “noël” announced the arrival of the Infant Holy in this concert designed to delight the entire family.
The concert featured the Christmas Concert Choir performing new, moving works, as well as bringing a festive flair to favorite seasonal carols. The musical journey took the audience from the United States to France and England. From Francis Poulenc’s awe-inspiring “O Magnum Mysterium” to Andre Thomas’ energetic “Here’s a Pretty Little Baby” to Alan Silvestri’s fun and vibrant “Spirit of the Season,” the music stirred the hearts of children of all ages.
International performing artist John West gave a concert on First Church’s Aeolian-Skinner-Dyer organ on Sunday, November 30, 2014. West, who earned his Masters of Music degree with honors at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, performed Charles Marie Widor’s Symphonie VI, with Mark Crane and Melanie Johnson performing dramatic vignettes to introduce each of the movements.
West, who has a varied background as a musical artist, also performed works from various cultures and ethnic styles, as well as original compositions. While most listeners think of classical when they think of organ music, West showcased English, Mexican and German music, as well as American composers, to show the amalgamation of diverse styles possible on this magnificent instrument, which is capable of rivaling the power of an orchestra as well as many of the orchestra’s subtleties and colors of sound.
The Concert Choir of First Church invited the community on a marvelous journey that transported the listener into the magical, transforming world of two of the greatest composers of all time on Sunday, August 24, 2014, as it presented An Evening with Bernstein & Sondheim. The concert showcased the music of one of the most prolific composers of the 20th Century, Leonard Bernstein, an American composer, conductor, author and pianist who was among the first conductors born and educated in the United States to receive worldwide acclaim. The evening featured some of Bernstein’s most recognized sacred and popular works, including the Chichester Psalms. This magnificent sacred choral work was written for boy treble, solo quartet, choir and orchestra.
The creative artistry of Stephen Sondheim was honored in a 25-minute musical revue, Sondheim! A Choral Celebration, which showcased his best-loved songs from acclaimed Broadway musicals. Included were “Send in the Clowns, “Being Alive,” “Company” and “Comedy Tonight.” The concert also featured guest soloist Leslie Cook of Santa Barbara, California, a mezzo-soprano who has performed operatic roles throughout Europe and California. Cook sang “A Simple Song” from Bernstein’s Mass, which was written as a memorial for President John Kennedy and premiered in 1971 as part of the grand opening of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
On February 5, 2014, St. Olaf Choir gave a concert at First Church as part of their winter 2014 National Tour. The tour, which included 15 performances in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee, was under the direction of conductor Anton Armstrong. The St. Olaf Choir, with 75 mixed voices, has set a standard of choral excellence. The choir has remained at the forefront of choral artistry for more than a century. The choir’s mission is to provide music of the highest quality that lifts people’s hearts and spirits, incorporating a diversity of voices and cultural traditions into the chorus of the Christian faith.
First Church presented its annual Christmas concert, Night of Wonders, on Sunday, December 15, 2013, under the direction of Tony Chunn and featuring the Chancel Choir and orchestra that included members of the Orlando Symphony. The program began with “Lost in the Night,” a Finnish folk tune offering a glimpse at a world in darkness eagerly awaiting the birth of a Savior. The program built and built until it exploded in a joyous celebration of angels rejoicing with John Rutter’s Gloria and Handel’s “For Unto Us a Child Is Born.” Guest soloist was Hollywood vocalist, songwriter and recording artist John Torres who performed traditional favorite “O Holy Night” and “His Love Is All I See.”
First Church celebrated the Golden Jubilee of the opening of the sanctuary on November 17, 2013. To commemorate the event, internationally acclaimed organist Alan Morrison was featured in concert on the famed Aeolian-Skinner-Dyer organ. Morrison is recognized as one of America’s premier concert organists, performing in prestigious concert organ venues across the United States and in Canada, as well as at international festivals.