Hagerstown Choral Arts sing at Pa. church

March 10, 2005|by JULIE E. GREENE

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - As Hagerstown Choral Arts members sing Sunday about their souls magnifying the Lord, the setting - Central Presbyterian Church in Chambersburg - should magnify their voices.

Artistic and Music Director Gregory Shook chose songs for Sunday afternoon's concert that would reverberate in the church's favorable acoustical setting.

"Central Presbyterian is an absolutely wonderful place to sing, so we chose some pieces that are usually sung in larger churches, cathedrals," Shook said.


Hagerstown Choral Arts will perform a 70-minute concert at 4 p.m. Sunday. The concert and a gourmet reception following the performance will be free.

The concert is the third of four in Concerts at Central, a series of inspirational music, art and drama events to grow the church by nurturing its members and the larger community, said Kathleen Wold, the church's director of music ministry.

The concert series, started six years ago, has included performances from local and internationally known artists, Wold said.

In choosing a balance of sacred and secular music for the performance, Shook didn't realize he'd also chosen songs about the love of music and the love of life.

"If Music Be the Food of Love" and "How Can I Keep from Singing" bookend the concert.

Some selections, such as "Magnificat and Nunc Dimitis" and "Cantique de Jean Racine," were chosen because of the church's size and acoustics, Shook said.

The mix includes a French folk song, "Dirait-on," three 19th century spirituals that gave blacks hope during their struggles with slavery, and a song with text by British author Charles Dickens, Shook said.

Dickens' words in "Things That Never Die" talk about what's worthwhile in life - loving someone, friendship and relationships - Shook said.

"It's a good marriage of text and music" composed by Lee Dengler, Shook said.

The spiritual "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" has a plaintive, soulful sound that people are apt to remember from the more familiar "Ol' Man River."

With about 80 members, Hagerstown Choral Arts is a volunteer choral ensemble dedicated to bringing high-quality choral music to the Tri-State area, spokeswoman Jessamy McKay said.

The choral ensemble will be accompanied by pianist Darleen Smith and, for "Set Me as a Seal," by guest instrumentalist Gregory Starliper on the English horn, Shook said.

If you go

What: Concerts at Central featuring Hagerstown Choral Arts

Where: Central Presbyterian Church, 40 Lincoln Way West, Chambersburg, Pa.

When: 4 p.m. Sunday, March 13

Cost: Free

Directions: Central Presbyterian Church is on Memorial Square in downtown Chambersburg. Take Interstate 81 north to Chambersburg exit for U.S. 30. Turn left onto U.S. 30 west and go about 2 miles to Memorial Square in downtown Chambersburg. Turn left onto Black Avenue past the church to access free parking behind the church.

For information, call 1-717-264-4113, ext. 206.

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