“I Hear America Singing”
August 25, 2013, 7:30 p.m.
“I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear…” This opening sentence from Walt Whitman’s iconic poem of American diversity is a part of our rich cultural heritage. Whitman’s metaphor is the starting point for our next Chancel Choir concert with orchestra. “I Hear America Singing” is a collection of amazing music by several of America’s most important composers: Aaron Copland, Randall Thompson, John Williams, Dan Forrest, and Mack Wilberg. Featuring shorter works by these composers, the choir and orchestra offers outstanding examples of American creativity and beauty in this eclectic program.
John Williams is known for his film scores, his work as the conductor of the Boston Pops Orchestra and his exciting Olympic Fanfares. A very brief list of his film scores include Superman, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurasic Park, Jaws and Star Wars. In 1986 he was commissioned to write a fanfare for the rededication of the Statue of Liberty and it is this “Liberty Fanfare” that opens our concert with thrilling brass fanfares and broad sweeping melodies. Next we hear two choruses by Randall Thompson. “The God Who Gave Us Life” is the first movement of Thompson’s larger work, A Testament of Freedom, a work constructed on the writings of Thomas Jefferson. This is followed by “The Last Words of David,” one of the most popular choral works of the middle 20th century. Both these works deal with the need for governments to acknowledge freedom and rule justly.
Folk music is a very important part of our program. Five arrangements of folk hymns and melodies are planned for the night. The beautiful folk song “Shenandoah” shares its lovely melody with picturesque images of peaceful green valleys and gently flowing rivers. A Chancel Choir favorite composer, Mack Wilberg, wrote four other arrangements of American folk hymns on the program. Dr. Wilberg will be remembered in music history as one of the important musicians of our era.
Aaron Copland is synonymous with American music. He has a sound that cannot be explained but can be identified as American. His most performed music comes from his ballet suites and it is from his score of the ballet, Appalachian Spring, that we excerpt “Variations on a Shaker Melody.” That melody is the beloved “’The Gift to be Simple.” Copland’s variations here are simple, always identifiable yet immediately profound. Our second Copland work is from his opera, The Tender Land. The opera is not performed often but a suite of three movements based upon arias and choruses from The Tender Land has found great success. On this concert the orchestra plays the “Third Movement” of the suite, based upon the chorus “The Promise of Living.”
I will mention two other works from the concert. Dan Forrest takes on the formidable task of portraying Paradise in his extended chorus, “in paradisum.” Alternately bringing us from the majestic throne of God to the sublime serenity of life eternal and to the mystic image of that unknown paradise, Forrest succeeds in writing a stunningly beautiful choral work. Finally, we are pleased to present on the program a work by choir member, Stan Cording, who has set the Walt Whitman poem that gives its name to our concert.
The concert at 7:30 p.m. on August 25 is free to congregation and community and is sponsored by the “Friends of Music.”
“Lake Junaluska Singers” in concert
Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 7:00 p.m.
The Lake Junaluska Singers, directed by Dr. Melody Galloway, are a 16-voice professional ensemble, which serves as the Ambassador choir for the Southeastern Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church and of the Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center. The group began in 1954 and has performed nationally and internationally for conferences, dignitaries, and major events. Their music ranges from classical choral and contemporary works to gospel, folk and musical theatre styles.
Make this evening a summer family fun night, beginning with a meal in the Gathering Area from 5:00 through 6:30 pm. The meal is $6 for adults, $3 for children and a maximum of $15 for families. The concert by the Junaluska Singers is free with a free will offering.
“From Grief to Glory”
Sunday, March 24, 7:30 p.m.
The Chancel Choir and orchestra present two shorter works for Holy Week: Stabat Mater by Paul Mealor and Requiem by John Rutter. Paul Mealor is a contemporary Welsh composer who became famous through his “Ubi Caritas” that was sung at the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 2011. The work is a new setting of an ancient text that dates to the 14th Century. The poetic prayer details Mary’s anguish at the foot of the cross and asks that we might share in her grief so that we may better relate to the sacrifice Jesus made for humankind. The music portrays her passion and love for her Son in a very profound way. The performance by the Chancel Choir will be the North American premier of this arrangement. Rutter’s “Requiem” is one of the most important choral works of the late 20th century. It is a work based upon the traditional Requiem liturgy but also includes texts from Psalm 23, Psalm 130 and John 11. Rutter’s “Requiem” is a work of great comfort and compassion.
Sunday, March 10, 3:00 p.m.
A choral concert featuring combined choirs from Central Florida singing “The Crucifixion” by English composer Sir John Stainer. The familiar chorus “God So Loved the World” is an excerpt from this oratorio. The concert is sponsored by the Central Florida Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and will be directed by Benjamin Lane, Parish Musician at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church of Downtown Orlando. The oratorio will be accompanied by the 79 rank Aeolian/Skinner/Dyer sanctuary organ.
“O Come, All Ye Faithful”
Chancel Choir with orchestra annual Christmas concert
December 16, 2012 – 7:30 p.m.
Tradition! The annual Christmas Concert at First United Methodist has become a wonderful holiday tradition celebrating our Savior’s birth through glorious music of the season. Sung by the Chancel Choir and accompanied by full orchestra, the concert offers a panorama of emotions and creativity as the music illuminates and proclaims the blessed story of angels, shepherds, kings and the Infant Holy. Traditional carols are a part of everyone’s Christmas celebration and we never tire of hearing the beloved melodies. This year’s concert includes the beloved carols “The First Nowell,” “Joy to the World,” “Go, Tell It on the Mountain,” “O Holy Night” and “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” all accompanied by the kaleidoscopic colors of the symphony orchestra. Arrangements by Mack Wilberg, Music Director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Dan Forrest, one of the rising names in choral music in the early years of the 21st century, and John Rutter, the renowned contemporary English composer who has a special affinity for Christmas music, are represented in our concert repertoire and bring brilliance to the program. In addition to the traditional carols of Christmas we always include newly composed works in our concerts. Composers will forever be inspired by the Christmas story and their new creations give us fresh understanding of scripture and verse. The blending of old and new, familiar and unknown, gives us a splendid adventure revisiting the story we know so well.
Please join us as we re-tell through music God’s ineffable gift to His people. The concert will be presented on Sunday evening, December 16, at 7:30 pm in the sanctuary. This program, titled “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” is free and is a gift from the “Friends of Music” to the congregation and community. Van transportation to the concert will be available from the downtown high-rise apartments by reservations made through the church office. Parking will be available in the underground garage, Asbury/Ledbetter surface lot, the Signature Parking Garage (corner of Jackson and Magnolia with access on Jackson) and the Orange County Parking Garage across Rosalind Avenue from the church.
Alleluia, Rejoice – J. Edmund Hughes
Prelude: How Brightly Shines the Morning Star – J. Robert Hanson
There Shall a Star From Jacob Shining – Felix Mendelssohn
Arise, Shine – Dan Forrest
O Holy Night – arr. Mack Wilberg
Away in a Manger – arr. Neil Harmon
Gesu Bambino – arr. Dan Goeller
A Christmas Carol – Stan Cording
The Hands That First Held Mary’s Child – Dan Forrest
Joy to the World – Joseph Willcox Jenkins
O Come, All Ye Faithful – arr. Dan Forrest
A Christmas Festival of Carols – arr. Dan Forrest
Go, Tell it on the Mountain – arr. John Rutter
Carol of Joy – Dan Forrest
The First Nowell – arr. Mack Wilberg
Angels From the Realms of Glory – arr. Mack Wilberg
April 29, 2012
The Candler Singers is a choir of seminary students from the Methodist seminary in Emory University. The 20 singers are all students of theology preparing for ministry. Directing the choir is Rev. Barbara Day Miller, assistant director of Worship and Music at Candler.
The Voices of Resurrection is a 20 member, auditioned ensemble from The Church of the Resurrection in suburban Kansas City. The group sings a variety of musical styles but concentrates mostly on the Jazz idiom. The choir is in Florida to sing a special concert at General Conference as they represent the largest Methodist church in America with 7,430 members attending worship each week.
La Porte High School String Orchestra
March 25, 11 a.m. worship
On Sunday, March 25, the La Porte High School String Orchestra, La Porte, Texas, will provide service music for our 11 o’clock worship. Included in their repertoire will be “Adagio” by Tomaso Albinoni and “Pavanne” by Peter Warlock. Highlighting the visit will be a combination of the orchestra with the Chancel Choir as they offer a transcription of “Pie Jesu” by Gabriel Faure.
Meet the Composer – Joesph M. Martin
Sunday, February 5, in 11 a.m. worship and at a 4 p.m. recital
Composer/Pianist Joseph M. Martin is our guest for a revival of our “Meet the Composer” weekend. Mr. Martin is one of the most prolific and respected composers of choral anthems and musicals in our time. He serves Shawnee Press as Director of Sacred Publications in addition to his constant schedule as artist and clinician. He is a graduate of Furman University and the University of Texas when he received a Master of Music in Piano Performance degree. He has played with symphony orchestras in America and South America in addition to solo recitals throughoutAmerica. As a composer his diverse musical styles can be heard in almost every church and public school in our country but also in Carnegie Hall or the Lawrence Welk Theater in Branson, Missouri. A native of South Carolina, his “down home” presentation always brings a special warmth to his recitals in addition to his outstanding musical artistry. Mr. Martin will direct our Chancel Choir in worship on February 5 and then will present a piano recital of his hymn arrangements and original compositions at 4 p.m. that afternoon in our sanctuary.
Saturday, January 21, 8:00 p.m. $10.00, tickets at the door
The Festival Singers of Florida is a highly select, auditioned choral ensemble consisting of women and men from throughout Florida. Several advocates of choral music have joined together to create a choir that will serve singers and patrons of Central Florida. Dr. Kevin Fenton serves as the ensemble’s conductor.
Our mission is “to provide an artistic outlet and promote musical growth for outstanding singers in Florida. The Festival Singers of Florida is dedicated to expanding the awareness and appreciation of the choral arts in Central Florida and the Southeast by providing community performances of the highest quality.”
The King’s Brass
Thursday, January 12, 7:30 p.m., in the sanctuary
The King’s Brass is led by Tim Zimmerman and features three trumpets, three trombones, tuba, percussion and keyboards. Formed over 30 years ago, the group is made up of professional musicians from across the country. More than a musical ensemble, the King’s Brass shares their faith along with their excellent musical ability as they use their instruments to lead others in praise and worship. Their innovative, entertaining and inspiring concerts have pleased audiences and critics throughout America as they travel to every part of our country. They have recorded 14 albums that represent a mixture of standard hymn arrangements, folk songs and contemporary pieces. The concert is free and will be presented in the sanctuary at 7:30 p.m.
“What Child Is This?” Annual Chancel Choir Christmas Concert with Orchestra
December 19, at 7:30, our Chancel Choir presented its annual formal concert with full orchestra in the sanctuary. This year the title was “What Child Is This?” taken from one of the wonderful arrangements offered for your enjoyment. The glorious sounds of the symphony orchestra, the beauty of the human voice and the superb acoustics of the newly renovated sanctuary make this program a special holiday gift to the congregation and community. Familiar carols in majestic arrangements included in this year’s program were: “The First Noel,” “What Child Is This?” “Deck the Halls,” “Sing We Now of Christmas,” “Gesu Bambino” “Angels from the Realms of Glory” and, back from 2010,“The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Many other exciting seasonal works from great composers round out the concert. This annual concert is offered free of charge as a gift to the community by the Friends of Music.
“Ding Dong Desserts” The handbell choirs ring Christmas music
December 15, at 7 p.m., our two bell choirs reprised their very successful “Ding Dong Desserts” program from last year. The crystalline sound of handbells work so well with Christmas music that you might imagine handbells were invented just for the Christmas season. This program was in our vibrant new gathering place.
“Sing We Now of Christmas” A Christmas concert by our women’s ensemble, One Voice, and our men’s quartet, Him Tunes.
December 11, at 4 p.m., One Voice and Him Tunes offered a delightful afternoon of holiday music, the first concert ever in the new chapel. One Voice, our women’s trio, and Him Tunes, our men’s quartet, shared the concert, singing Christmas music from their respective repertoires but also coming together for several combined numbers. Whether singing separately or creating a new octet, they offered us a great way to start our holiday programming. Adding the beauty of our new chapel to the afternoon made this a special treat.