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Catawba College Plans Thanksgiving Service, "With Hearts and Hands and Voices"

November 08, 2007

Category: Events, Music, Religion & Philosophy


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At 6 p.m. Sunday, November 18, 2007 the splendid acoustics of Catawba College's Omwake-Dearborn Chapel will resound with the sounds of hundreds of voices, brass, handbells, and the College's Casavant pipe organ. Members of the Salisbury community will be joining together to sing thanksgiving to God for the blessings received each day. 

The service, entitled "With Hearts and Hands and Voices," will feature the Catawba Chorale, Catawba Singers, Catawba Handbells, and the Catawba Brass. Also six area church choirs will join the Catawba forces in a festive chorus by G. F. Handel, a fanfare by the British composer Kenneth Pelmear, and a dramatic setting of the much-loved hymn "Great is thy faithfulness."

Area church choirs participating in the Thanksgiving service include from Salisbury: First Presbyterian Church, with Director of Music Ministries Flora Abernethy Lester; First United Church of Christ with Director of Music Patricia Stewart; First United Methodist Church with Director of Music Ministries Adam M. Ward; St. Luke's Episcopal Church with Organist and Choirmaster Dr. Phillip E. Burgess; from Asheboro: St. John's Lutheran Church with Organist and Choirmaster Deborah Staley; and from Kannapolis: Bethpage United Methodist Church with Director of Music Brian Messenger.

The congregation will join in singing some of the traditional Thanksgiving hymns, including "Come, ye thankful people, come" and "Now thank we all our God." The artistic director for the service, Paul E. Oakley, Catawba's Director of Choral, Vocal and Sacred Music Studies, Associate Professor of Music, and College Organist, explained that those participating in and attending the service will find it "one of extravagant praise."

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Service of Thanksgiving

"Sometimes a simple thank you is adequate to thank someone for what they have done. Other times, a more extravagant gesture is needed. This service will be an example of the latter," Oakley said. "Those who come will still have the sounds of the service ringing in their ears when they sit down for Thanksgiving Dinner later that week. It will be a most meaningful and splendid service of praise and thanksgiving."

In addition to Oakley, other conductors and organists assisting with the service are Adam M. Ward and Dr. Timothy Belflowers, an adjunct music professor at the College and director of the handbell ensemble.

The Reverend Dr. Kenneth Clapp, Catawba College Senior Vice President and Chaplain, will offer a homily, "How Do We Say Thank You?"  Scripture lessons for the service will come from Jeremiah 29:1-7 and Luke 17:11-19. Clergy from the guest churches will assist in the liturgy.

During the service, an offering will be taken to defray expenses and to assist the work of Rowan Helping Ministries.


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