June 25, 2022
Fife and drums, instruments common to America during the Revolution, are coming to Lee’s Summit on June 26 as St. Paul’s Episcopal Church celebrates God’s gifts of freedom and liberty in America. The performance, called “The River of Delight: Sacred Music in America’s First 100 Years,” will be presented by St. Paul
A Cappella, an elite choir of 12 professional and semi-professional singers that is an ensemble of the busy Music Ministry of the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. The one-hour concert will be Sunday, June 26, 4:00 PM, in the circa-1879 historic nave of the church located at 416 SE Grand Avenue in Lee’s Summit. The program is free and the public is invited. All present are invited to enjoy a wine and cookie reception presented by the Friends of St. Paul’s Music following the concert.
“The Music Ministry of St. Paul’s Church is committed to meaningful celebrations of God’s gifts of freedom and liberty as enshrined in the founding documents and the traditions of our country,” says Music Director, Dr. William Baker. The full St. Paul Choir and musical guests performed Randall Thompson’s “The Testament of Freedom” in 2021 to a capacity audience from the wider community. This year’s concert will focus on three areas of musical expression by early Americans, including songs from Colonial New England in the late 18th century, music of the Southern tradition of the Sacred Harp in the early 1800s, and the rousing spirituals of the African-Americans brought to our shores in slavery prior to the Civil War.
“I haven’t heard a great deal of fife and drums played in Episcopal churches during my career,” says Baker, who came to the staff of St. Paul’s in September 2020, “but the fervor and revolutionary zeal that is heard in this music brings a thrilling element to this celebration. Consider for a moment how close we are to the visionary people who laid the foundation of our country. We will sing in the historic nave of our church built in 1879. Someone attending worship during the first year of our church who was the age that I am now, 63, would have been born around 1816. They would have experienced this immortal music in the years it was created. As we have rehearsed these moving songs in this beautiful space we can almost sense the spirits of the faith leaders who have come before us.”
The Music Ministry of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Lee’s Summit has become one of the busiest parish music programs in the Kansas City region. In the past year alone the Lee’s Summit congregation has presented Handel’s “Messiah,” and cantatas of Bach and Buxtehude with members of the Kansas City Symphony, in addition to a rollicking gospel concert featuring Chicago artists’ Robert Ray’s “Gospel Mass.” Other programs have included the summer 2021 patriotic celebration, a fall hymn festival, and the annual performances of the Summer Singers of Lee’s Summit. The audiences for all special music events at St. Paul’s have been growing, so the church recommends early arrival for best seats.
For additional information on “The River of Delight: Sacred Music in America’s First 100 Years,” please call 816-524-3651 or email Music@StPaulsLS.org.