William Baker Festival Singers at the Washington National Cathedral

May 6, 2023

The William Baker Festival Singers, second place national winners of the 2021 American Prize in Choral Performance and the 2021 Ernst Bacon Award for Service to American Music, will perform a benefit concert for Hillcrest Transitional Housing on Tuesday, May 9, 7:30 PM, at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 416 SE Grand Avenue in Lee’s Summit. The one-hour concert is free to the public, with 100% of donations received benefiting the work of Hillcrest Transitional Housing (www.HillcrestKC.org). A wine and cookie reception will follow the concert, presented by the Friends of St. Paul’s Music.

William Baker Festival Singers performing at Trinity Wall Street Church in New York City

The William Baker Festival Singers specializes in short-form sacred a cappella classics, early American hymns and spirituals, and gospel selections, in addition to annual performances of choral-orchestral masterworks. The Kansas-based Festival Singers has performed tour concerts in 14 states, with performances in prestigious venues to include the Washington National Cathedral, the Basilica of the National Shrine, Trinity Wall Street Church in New York City, St. James Cathedral in Chicago, St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans, and Helzberg Hall in Kansas City. The 50-voice choir has produced two dozen nationally released recordings, several that have been lauded in national publications, including The American Record Guide, and The Journal of the Anglican Association of Musicians. Performances of the Festival Singers have been featured on national radio programs including The Sounds of Majesty, The First Art, and National Public Radio’s Performance Today.

William Baker Festival Singers in Helzberg Hall, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City

The performance in Lee’s Summit on May 9th will be the final concert of the Festival Singers’ 2022-2023 season that included Kansas City area performances, in addition to concerts at Subiaco Abbey in Arkansas and the Basilica of St. Josaphat in Milwaukee. Selections include works by modern composers Egil Hovland and Eriks Esenvalds; hymns from the Sacred Harp, and gospel spirituals in settings by Moses Hogan, Keith Hampton, Joseph Jennings and Andre Crouch. A special feature of the concert will be two works by Festival Singers’ Composer in Residence, Dr. Sean Sweeden: an arrangement of Over the Rainbow and an original setting of the poem High Flight by John Gillespie Magee, Jr., that was beautifully quoted by President Reagan in his comforting remarks following the Challenger disaster in 1986.

Music Director William Baker conducting the Festival Singers in Helzberg Hall

Hillcrest Transitional Housing is an organization with a proven record of moving individuals and families from homelessness to self-sufficiency. Over a thousand children, individual adults and families are served each year through Hillcrest’s residential sites in Johnson and Wyandotte counties in Kansas, and Jackson County in Missouri. Hillcrest also offers intensive case management for residents to address the root causes of homelessness, and advocates for action on homelessness, poverty, affordable housing and hunger.

St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Lee’s Summit has long been supportive of the work of Hillcrest Transitional Housing, and other human service organizations in the community. The partnership between the William Baker Festival Singers and the congregation for the May 9 benefit concert hopes to raise hundreds of dollars to support the human need work of Hillcrest. All expenses for the concert have been covered by generous sponsors, enabling every penny of donated funds to be given to Hillcrest.

For additional information regarding the concert, please email Mail@FestivalSingers.org or call 913-488-7524.