What Sweeter Music, by Hillsdale First United Methodist Church Music Department
On Sunday, December 11 at 4:00 PM, Hillsdale First United Methodist Church offered an exciting Christmas presentation for the greater Hillsdale community called What Sweeter Music. The program will be an uplifting celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ through choral music, selections for handbells, Scripture readings and commentary about the music. This annual event will again include the spirited singing of familiar Christmas carols by choir and audience.
The choral selections offered by the Hillsdale First UMC Chancel Choir, joined by several singers from the choir of First Presbyterian Church and their director, Dean James. The chamber orchestra was made up of Hillsdale College and Spring Arbor University students. In addition to choral music and the singing of carols by all, the Hillsdale First UMC Handbell Choir offered two contrasting settings of seasonal standards Silent Night and Good Christian Friends, Rejoice!
Organ Recital by John Ourensma with Nicholas Nestorak, Tenor
The fourth concert in the 2016 series was Director of Music John Ourensma's annual Organ Recital, with guest tenor Nicholas Nestorak.
The concert included sacred pieces for voice and organ, in addition to some solo pieces performed by John Ourensma. John also explained and demonstrated a little about how a pipe organ works. Organ music was based on familiar hymns, some masterworks for the pipe organ, several beautiful and well-known sacred arias by Bach, Handel and Mendelssohn, as well as sacred songs by Thiman and Stanford. Also included was an interesting commentary on how an organist chooses from an organ's many different sounds to play solo music as well as accompany a fine singer.
The Kalamazoo Ringers Handbell Choir
An outstanding handbell choir in concert!
On Sunday, April 17 The Kalamazoo Ringers, a group of fifteen ringers performed on played a six octave set of Malmark handbells along with a seven octave set of Malmark Choirchimes. The Kalamazoo Ringers is the oldest continuously operating community choir in the country. Founded in 1981, the ensemble has played extensively throughout Southwest Michigan, as well as touring throughout the Midwest, Ontario, England, and Japan. The choir is directed by its founder, Janet L. Van Valey, and hosted by the Grace Harbor Church in Kalamazoo.
The King of Kings, accompanied by Organist John Schwandt
On February 28, organist John Schwandt accompanied Cecil B. DeMille's classic 1927 silent movie, The King of Kings.
The King of Kings, the epic 1927 blockbuster silent movie, is the Greatest Story Ever Told as only the great Cecil B. DeMille could tell it. Working with the biggest budget in the history of Hollywood, DeMille spun the life and Passion of Christ into one of the highest-grossing films of all time.
Organist John D. Schwandt is Associate Professor of Organ and Director of the American Organ Institute (AOI) at the University of Oklahoma School of Music. He is a nationally acclaimed performer and is in demand as a clinician, recitalist, leader of hymn festivals, silent film accompanist and as an organ consultant.