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St. Luke’s Candlemas Evensong Is Feb. 2

Members of the St. Luke’s Episcopal Church choir are pictured.

The Festival Choir of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church will present its annual Candlemas choral evensong service on Thursday, Feb. 2, at 7 p.m. in the church sanctuary.

One of the oldest feast days in the Christian tradition, Candlemas, also known as the “Festival of Lights”, has been thought of as the official beginning of the spring season. Christians today recognize the holiday as the celebration of the presentation of Christ to the Temple in Jerusalem. Combining the ancient and more modern traditions, the Candlemas service marks the transition of the dark of winter to the light of spring, and recognizes Christ as the guiding light in the darkness who led his followers as the “light of the world.”

Attendees encouraged to bring Christmas wreaths or greens for the Candlemas fire that will be lit to serve as an expression of the flame of God’s love, as well as candles to be blessed and taken home as a reminder of the new light that has been revealed to the world through Jesus Christ.

Andrew Schmidt, Director of Music at St. Luke’s and director of the Festival Choir says that the music selection for the evening will consist of works from the choral tradition most commonly known as “high Anglican.”

The choir will be performing the “Magnificat” and “Nunc Dimittis” by Harold Friedell (1905-1953). Friedell was Organist and Choirmaster at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in New York City, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest composers in the high Anglican tradition. These pieces are highly challenging for a choir to sing, and Schmidt says that he is pleased with the progress that the choir has made in mastering the pieces.

“These are challenging and beautiful anthems which have come to mean a great deal to the choir and me,” Schmidt said. “Friedell’s music, in particular, has an eloquent, expressive quality which is uniquely Anglican. He captures the meaning of the words in a way which is emotionally powerful.”

The program also includes a setting of Psalm 84 by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (1848-1918), one of the most celebrated English composers of his day. Psalm 84, the traditional Psalm used on Candlemas, has been set to music in a variety of ways, but Schmidt says that he feels that Parry’s setting blends well with the evenings selections because it is the most distinctly high Anglican.

Schmidt invites all community members to attend the service, which is part of St. Luke’s 2016-17 Annual Music Series. This series offers several special free musical presentations throughout the year highlighting sacred choral music, with the intention of increasing and enhancing the current opportunities for music appreciation in the Jamestown area.

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church is located at 410 N. Main St., Jamestown. For more information, call the church office at 483-6405.

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