Every four years, the Moravian Music Foundation (MMF) sponsors a week-long music festival to celebrate Moravian music, explore the history of Moravian music, to teach and share, and to explore new avenues and directions in music.
Next summer, July 23–29, 2017, the 25th Moravian Music Festival will attract hundreds of musicians to Winston-Salem, N.C., and be centered among Home Moravian Church, Salem College and Old Salem. Hundreds more will attend and enjoy the many performances of both new and historic Moravian music in concert venues at Home, Trinity and Calvary Moravian churches, as well as Winston-Salem State University’s Williams Auditorium.
Replete with workshops and lectures, Moravian Music Festivals are a learning opportunity for singers, instrumentalists and directors (Moravian and non-Moravian). It is full of practical ideas, skills and techniques for the musician, the musical group and the congregation.
One of the greatest benefits of registering for the 25th Festival will be the opportunity to work with wonderful conductors, composers, singers and instrumentalists, all highly acclaimed in their individual disciplines. For the 2017 festival, we are proud to bring in several leading conductors, including Dr. John Sinclair, professor of music at Rollins College and Artistic Director of the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park, Fla., and Chris Wormald, one of the most recognized educators and brass band conductors in Great Britain, with countless accolades and awards. In 1991, Womald started the Smithills School Senior Brass Band and has led them to national and international brass band championships.
Anne Saxon will lead the children’s music program. She leads the Winston-Salem Girls Chorus and is President of the North Carolina Chapter of the American Choral Director’s Association. Also featured will be Deborah Rice, a world-traveling handbell director and clinician, a prolific arranger, and former president of the American Guild of English Handbell Ringers. Dr. Donna Rothrock, founding director of the Salem Trombone Choir, for over 30 years, will lead the Festival Trombone Choir.
The Rev. Nola R. Knouse, Ph.D. will be Music Director of the Festival. Mary Wilson will be the featured soprano soloist for the week. Ms. Wilson is an internationally acclaimed opera singer and concert soloist and was featured on the Moravian Music Foundation’s most recent recording of the Wolf Easter Cantata.
Concurrently, there will be a children’s summer music program, a youth program, special young adult events, and an organ crawl! Participants will choose tracks for choral, instrumental and/or handbells. Each day will be comprised of workshops and rehearsals for ensembles, handbells, orchestras, and lots of singing, with special moments for worship, fellowship and reflection. Each evening will begin with a band prelude, and culminate with featured concerts by the Chorus and Orchestra, Festival Band and Chamber music ensembles. The Festival will also have an Anthem Sing, a Singstunde, a Lovefeast (of course), and a partnership concert with the Salem Band.
The concerts will be free and open to the public, and we hope you will join us. Audiences will experience a wide range of repertoire, from sacred band chorales to contemporary songs; from concert anthems with orchestra to new arrangements for wind ensemble!
The first Moravian Music Festival was held in 1950. Since 2010, the Festivals have been the responsibility of the Foundation, which has worked well, since the “institutional memory” and artistic planning of music festivals already resided with MMF. The local Festival Planning Committee is a dedicated team of tireless volunteers, who have been working for over a year already, ably led by Scott and Amanda Moody Schumpert.
A festival for everyone
The Festival is for everyone, serving musicians of all levels, from beginner to director. Advance registration is required and is now open. Online registration (and, a wealth of information) is available at www.moravianmusicfestival.org. Festival registration packets will be mailed to known addresses of our constituents. Housing will consist of Salem College options and blocks of rooms at area hotels. Local residents are asked to register, as well. There will be options for full meal plans or daily meals on campus.
MMF has kept the housing and meal expenses in line with 2013 and has managed to lower the tuition a bit. There is an extra fee for late registrations.
Each year, the Festival Committee seeks those who value the Festivals and want to encourage participation, especially by younger musicians, by supporting the Festival Scholarship Fund. Donations of any amount are invited. Underwriting sponsorships of concerts and other Festival events are welcome, as well.
The Moravian Music Festival is a unique opportunity to celebrate the musical heritage of this community.
Erik Salzwedel is business manager for the Moravian Music Foundation, based in Winston-Salem, N.C. For more information on the 2017 Moravian Music Festival, visit www.moravianmusicfestival.org.