In 2021, the 26th Moravian Music Festival will be… Christian hearts in love united

Since 1950, musicians and music-lovers have congregated in a festival setting to celebrate Moravian music. Festival-goers explore the history of Moravian music; bring archival music into the light; encourage and perform new music and arrangements; learn, teach, and share ideas; and explore new avenues and directions in music.

The Moravian Music Foundation (MMF) sponsors and manages the event. Normally, it would hold a week-long festival, every four years. The 26th Festival was to be in Bethlehem, Pa.

For the safety of all involved – instrumentalists, singers, volunteers, audiences, children and youth – participants will now connect creatively, using technology and the Internet. The Festival, scheduled for July 18-24, will be education-focused, maximizing online platforms.

But the spirit of the festival will still be about connecting our hearts in love united, even if not in the ways to which we are accustomed. As musicians, we crave the close bonds of singing and playing together that we have missed for some time. We hunger for times of fellowship and sharing of ideas and conversation. The committee and Moravian Music Foundation staff are working hard to provide connections and ample social time during our week online.

Connecting online offers benefits as well. Without the usual travel time and expense, the opportunity to participate is open to all, no matter their location or distance. You may now enjoy our featured speakers, panelists and teachers right there in your home!

The general public will be able to view and enjoy the many performances of both new and historic Moravian music, recorded or livestreamed, from a variety of churches and concert venues. The concerts will be free, and we hope you will join us and help us spread the word.

All the details and the link to register are at www.moravianmusicfestival.org.

A festival for everyone

The Festival is for everyone, serving musicians of all levels, from beginner to director.

Participants will not be rehearsing or performing during the 2021 Festival, but they may be able to sing or play in virtual bands, choirs or smaller group recordings.

Participants will be able to view all concerts, webinars, lectures and roundtables, and participate in social gatherings and fun and games. For most sessions and events, you decide when to watch; depending on your interests, you may stay engaged throughout the day, or tune in for evening concerts.

Dr. John Sinclair, professor of music at Rollins College and artistic director of the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park, Fla., will be involved in leading the virtual ensembles. Allen Frank, of Liberty High School, with years of professional and teaching experience, will lead the virtual band projects. 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.

The local Festival Planning Committee is a dedicated team of tireless volunteers, who began working in 2018, ably led by Hank Naisby. They will oversee the online Festival in 2021 as well as the in-person Festival in 2022, currently scheduled for the latter half of the week ending July 30.

Each year, the Festival Committee seeks support from 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. www.moravianmusicfestival.org/contribute/

As we nurture the musical interests of younger generations, the musical theater production, ACTS, will add an exciting element to the program for children and youth. Join us as we ACT, sing and dance; learn some of the stories from the book of ACTS; see how the disciples ACTed on their faith; use our musical talents to enACT our own faith. 

Children will be learning music and dialogue. Youth have options to play a role in ACTS or to work on production for the musical. They also have options to sing in the chorus or play in the band. Other fun social time and activities will balance out the week, without keeping kids on the screen for extended periods of time, each day. Myra Jones and Sarah Hriniak will lead the children and Rev. Lynnette Delbridge will lead the middle to high school youth.

Children and youth are free and need only complete a form available on the website.