Only three months remain before the 24th Moravian Music Festival in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, July 14-20! A lively volunteer committee chaired by Rebecca Kleintop Owens is working hard to ensure that the Festival experience for attendees will be even better than hoped for.
Here are a few highlights to whet your appetite:
For the younger crowd
The Children’s Program at this year’s Festival will feature a new musical highlighting the story of Moravian missions around the world. Come along as we travel by ship with Count Zinzendorf to various corners of the world and experience different Moravian customs and musical styles. The musical text for this exciting new piece was written by Brother John Wallace (pastor of First Moravian Church in Dover, Ohio), with Sisters Sharon Benson and Gwyn Michel providing the song texts. Sister Myra Jones will coordinate the children’s program. (Note: The Moravian Music Foundation and Interprovincial Board of Communication are exploring publishing the musical for use by congregations in the future.)
While Youth will participate in the Festival chorus or band, there will also be additional activities for young people guided by Sister Lynnette Delbridge and Brother Andy Meckstroth. Thanks to generous grants from the United Brethren’s Church of Staten Island and Bethlehem Area Moravians, there is no tuition charge for the children’s program or youth program, and meals will be partially subsidized. However, children and youth still need to register, so we can plan for meals and activities.
Singing and Playing
The Festival Chorus will present two concerts this Festival—one will consist solely of the first modern performance of the Easter Cantata by Ernst Wilhelm Wolf, and the other of Moravian anthems, solos, and instrumental music.
While Wolf was not a Moravian, his works were popular among the 18th- and 19th-century Moravians, with movements of his Easter Cantata found in Moravian musical collections as far away as South Africa and Labrador, as well as in Bethlehem and Winston-Salem and in the Moravian congregations of Europe. His Easter Cantata is a major work, and will be presented in a new edition by Brother David Blum. The Festival Chorus will be directed by Dr. John Sinclair and accompanied by Sister Susan Keck Foster, along with an orchestra which includes many Moravian members!
Music for the Festival Band is still being selected by conductor Allen Frank. It will reflect a wide variety of styles and sources, and include several pieces written on Moravian themes.
In addition, Festival-goers may choose to participate in one of four activities, including the Festival Handbell Choir; the Festival Trombone Choir; Instrumental Chamber Music; or Choral Music Reading Sessions. Each track will offer participants a chance to learn new music, rehearse with musicians from around the globe and perform for Moravian-music lovers.
Learning and Worshipping
Festival Seminars and Workshops are designed to broaden the knowledge and appreciation of Moravian music. A variety of topics provide historical background as well as useful “how to” techniques to improve one’s musical abilities. In 2013, Festival participants have the opportunity to improve their singing and choral conducting, hone worship planning and leadership skills, learn more about Finale and Sibelius music software and more.
Worship and devotions each morning will be led by the Moravian bishops from the Lehigh Valley area.
A treat for the ears
If you can’t participate during the entire week or aren’t musically inclined, please plan to come to the evening concerts, which will include an opening Lovefeast, an organ recital by Rebecca Kleintop Owens, a concert by Tim Zimmerman and the King’s Brass, two choral/orchestral concerts, the Festival band concert, and a closing Singstunde featuring the festival trombone choir, handbell choir, and chamber music ensembles. The concert schedule is available on the Festival website. (All concerts are free except for Tim Zimmerman and the King’s Brass; separate tickets will be available for this concert.)
Registrations are rolling into the Moravian Music Foundation office—register soon to request your preferred workshops (and preferred suitemates, if you’re staying on campus)! Registration information is available on the Moravian Music Festival website or by mail from the Moravian Music Foundation office. Call either office (Bethlehem 610.866.3340; Winston-Salem 336.725.0651) for more information or to receive your registration materials in the mail! Please register by June 1 so we can be sure to be ready for you!
Please visit the Festival website for more information and frequent updates – www.MoravianMusicFestival.org. We’ll see you in Bethlehem!
The Rev. Dr. Nola Reed Knouse is director of The Moravian Music Foundation.
From the April 2013 Moravian Magazine