In a respite from these troubled times, the choir of St. Mary of the Hills Episcopal Church presents “Keep Watch: Seeking Kindness in Today’s World” on Saturday, August 17th, at 5:30 pm in the nave of the church.
Patterned on the familiar Lessons and Carols of the Advent season, this free concert will feature readings and music that focus on the themes of loss, social justice, love, and kindness. The music includes Carissimi’s Plorate filii Israel (Weep, children of Israel), Barber’s Sure on this Shining Night, Gjeilo’s Ubi caritas (Where Charity and Love are), and Carly Simon’s uplifting anthem Let the River Run.
The St. Mary’s choir presents a special concert in August each year in honor of the church’s matronal saint and in memory of Dr. Ken McKinney, an internationally-known professor of Geology at ASU who was a founder and long-time member of the choir, and who was instrumental in the its development as one of the premier choral ensembles of the region. Informally known as ‘Maryfest/Kenfest’ among choir members, the weekend serves as a time for current and former members to hold a reunion while honoring Dr. McKinney’s legacy in environmental and social issues. Several former members of the choir have gone on to music careers in New York and abroad.
The choir of St. Mary of the Hills has performed many times with various chamber orchestras, but its focus remains unaccompanied singing, and its heart is regular Sunday morning worship and monthly Choral Evensong. Dr. James Bumgardner has been organist and Choir Director at St. Mary’s for over 30 years, and has led the choir on several trips to study with the foremost directors of Anglican choral music in Cambridge, England, including George Guest at St. John’s, Stephen Cleobury at King’s, and Tim Brown at Clare College. The group has been choir-in-residence at Durham Cathedral in England twice, and has sung services for St. Mary the Virgin in New York City, as well as representing North Carolina at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
St. Mary’s is located on Main Street in Blowing Rock. For more information on this performance, please contact St. Mary of the Hills at 828.295.7323 or follow us on Facebook @ MusicfromStMaryoftheHills.