Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Got Tunes?

Thought for the day:

If we are here for any good purpose at all...I suspect it is to entertain the rest of nature. A gang of sexy primate clowns. All the little critters creep in close to listen when human beings are in a good mood and willing to play some tunes. — Gary Snyder

I am thinking that there is no better place for sound than a Presbyterian church. These buildings are built for tunes. This is a natural for churches to host concerts of all different kinds.

In a time when it is expensive to go out, the
best place to hear music is in church!

First Presbyterian Church of Petaluma (CA), knows this. Check this story at
First Presbyterian Church of Petaluma is in its third season of its Fourth at First Concert Series, which showcases local, national and international musical groups the fourth Sunday of each month.

“It’s a really high quality musical experience,” said Patty Graham, concert series planner and director of the Wings of Glory gospel choir. “I think the series is wonderful and we want to share it with people.”

Graham got the idea for the series after learning about the Old First Concerts at a church in San Francisco. “A friend of mine told me about that series and said we should do that at First Presbyterian,” said Graham. “I took the idea to our church committee and they said go for it. Being the director of Wings of Glory, I have a lot of experience in producing things, at least on a local level. I also have a lot of friends in the music business, so I called up people I knew to perform.”

The series has performers from a variety of musical styles such as jazz, bluegrass, gospel and folk.

“We’ve had an Irish group from Oakland, Dockside, perform twice,” said Graham. “And they’re coming back again next year. A group from Russia, the St. Petersburg Men’s Ensemble, are another wonderful group that’s a big draw. They are a quartet a cappella group that sings Russian liturgical music and folk songs.”

Next up on the Fourth at First Series lineup is the Mark Wardlaw Jazz Quartet, which will perform at 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 23.

Director of instrumental music in the at Santa Rosa High School, Wardlaw has performed as a clarinetist in the Santa Rosa Symphony since 1984. He has performed with musicians and entertainers such as Yo-Yo Ma, Emanuel Ax, Andre Watts, Jeffrey Kahane, The Turtle Island String Quartet, Fred Hersch, Judy Collins, David Benoit, the rock group Yes, Mel Torme, Steve Allen, Joan Rivers, Olivia Newton John, Frankie Avalon, Fabian and Lou Christie.

“The people who come to the concert series love it and say thanks for having this,” said Graham. “The fact that it’s virtually free is even nicer. We do take donations, but that’s not a requirement. The fact that the concert is early on a Sunday evening is also nice for older folks who don’t want to be out too late.

“The music is excellent and we really want to get the word out to the community that this exists,” Graham added. “The bigger the audience, the more fun it is for the performers and the rest of the audience.”
Good job, First Pres. Petaluma!

They are also celebrating their 125th anniversary and put some great videos on their website. They are interviews with long-term members about their experiences at the church.

Got joyful news about your PCUSA congregation? Heard good news about another? E-mail me!

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