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Give Up the NFL Oct. 7th for a Catawba College Hymn Festival and Faculty Recital!

September 20, 2007

Category: Events, Music


Would you ever give up the NFL on a Sunday afternoon or evening and come to an academic organ recital because you thought it would be more fun? Catawba College's organist would and he's a huge fan of the NFL!

Professor Paul E. Oakley, Catawba College's new Director of Choral, Vocal and Sacred Music Studies and the College Organist, is encouraging members of both the College and the Salisbury-Rowan communities to attend the October 7th Hymn Festival and Faculty Recital, "A Thousand Ages in Thy Sight." The free event begins at 6 p.m. in the Omwake-Dearborn Chapel on campus.

Oakley notes that if the Bible is the storybook of the church, then the hymnal is the family album. During the October 7th event, he says, "We're going to sing through the 1000-year history of Christianity in music, from 13th century chant to hymns written within the last five years, and everything in between.

"No one who comes (to the Hymn Festival) will like all of it, although everyone who comes will like some of it," he continues. "We're taking great pains to be extremely stylistic, trying to make hymns from the 16th century sound different than hymns from the 19th or 20th centuries. In the same way, hymns from different parts of the world will reflect the native sounds of their geographic regions."

Some of the favorites to be sung during the event include "All Creatures of Our God and King," "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God," "Blessed Assurance! Jesus is Mine," "Precious Lord, Take My Hand," and many more. Catawba's Casavant pipe organ will be featured in music by Bach, Langlais, Albrecht, and others. Professor Oakley will be assisted in the recital by singers from Ethos Chamber Singers of Charlotte and members of Catawba's own Scholars of the Chapel.

"Too often hymn singing in American churches all sounds the same, as if all the hymns were written on the same day and in the same place and for the same congregation," Oakley notes, "but nothing could be further from the truth. Hymns in a service should add the most colorful and exciting sense of variety of any of the acts of worship.

"So, if you come to this recital, you'll work – singing and learning about the history and performance style of hymns, and singing everything from chant hymns to familiar gospel hymns and ethnic hymns as well. This is a chance for families to learn together."

The October 7th Hymn Festival and Faculty Recital is FREE and open to the public.


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