In July, I was fortunate to spend a week in Winston-Salem covering this year’s Moravian Music Festival. Joining more than 300 singers, musicians, historians and fans, I spent seven days immersed in “Moravian Music.”
I’ll admit it: I don’t sing well, I don’t play a trombone or organ and my music reading skills are rudimentary at best. Yet throughout the week I found myself awed and moved by the beautiful, spiritual sounds being created by those for whom Moravian Music is a passion and a skill.
It wasn’t just the listening to music that made me appreciate what Moravians can do with notes and words. Music by its nature is an auditory experience; the week at the Moravian Music Festival also demonstrated that, for me, music is a visual experience as well.
During the week, I took more than 1,000 photos and several hours of video. There’s something about how a chorus of 100-plus singers and a festival orchestra look performing under stage lights, or how a trombone choir looks when they play in a red-carpeted sanctuary that took Moravian Music to a new level for me.
Beyond the performances, I captured rehearsals in many corners of Home Moravian Church; workshops where music experts shared their knowledge and expertise; activities where children learned music basics (and also how to make sugar cake!); and unrehearsed outdoor performances by players coming together to offer traditional preludes. In each of these images, you can see the deep-felt love, joy and respect singers and musicians have for their music.
As I look back on what I photographed, I see images of inspired performances and hard work. I also can “hear” the music they were playing. And while my ability to create traditional church music is limited (I have mastered “Sing Hallelujah Praise the Lord” on guitar), the week of hearing – and seeing – this beautiful music studied, rehearsed and performed gives me a new appreciation for this thing we call “Moravian Music.”
In this issue, you can see some of the images I recorded, along with my coverage of the Music Festival. We also share the story of a unique new partnership that’s keeping an important ministry alive and well; a first-hand account of events in Charlottesville, Virginia in mid-August; and stories from around the Moravian world.
I hope you enjoy this issue. As always, I welcome your comments, suggestions and ideas for articles for future issues.