Organ Music Highlight of Interfaith Concert

Article excerpt

Byline: Barbara Ferguson

Over the past six weeks, some people who live or work in our community have been able to enjoy the ecumenical Lenten organ recitals that have been held on Thursdays at noontime.

Sadly many other people who work farther away or who don't have the luxury of an hour-long lunch break have missed out on some wonderful music.

Happily, this will all change on Sunday when St. Catherine of Siena Church in West Dundee will host the 11th annual Palm Sunday Interfaith Concert at 4 p.m. This festival will bring neighbors of different faiths together in music and prayer.

What started in 1994 with a single organist has blossomed into a springtime tradition of musical beauty that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Event founder, Phyllis Connelly, a 40-year Dundee area resident, conceived the idea as a way to address the growing shortage of organists. She states, "My goal was to show kids that the organ isn't just for Sunday mornings."

Musicians and singers are primarily drawn from eight area churches including First Congregational Church, First United Methodist Church, St. James Episcopal Church, St. Catherine/St. Mary Catholic Communities, Bethlehem Lutheran, Zion United Church of Christ in Carpentersville, St. Mary Catholic Church in Huntley and First Presbyterian in Elgin.

A number of participants also come from several other area churches because, as Phyllis says, "Once they heard about what we were doing, they wanted to be a part of it."

More than 100 singers, two handbell choirs and a brass and instrumental ensemble will lend their talents to this program.

"One of the most rewarding aspects of this project is the fact that we are providing an opportunity for friends of different faiths to sit next to each other and pray and sing together whether in the choir or the assembly," Connelly said.

In fact, the assembly will be invited to sing along during three of the choir selections. The concert will begin with prelude music depicting the joyful beginning of Christ's entry into Jerusalem. A portion of the music heard during this time is "Festival Prelude" by M. Charpentier for brass ensemble and organ. Two handbell choirs will then join together for a festive piece, a flute solo, and an organ/piano duet of familiar gospel hymn tunes will be played. …