May 2018

Many are the ways in which First UMC witnesses our message of hope to our community. An outstanding proclamation of that hope awaits as, on May 6, our Music Department presents internationally acclaimed composer Kirke Mechem’s Songs of the Slave in our Spring Concert.  Featuring Wayne Shepperd, bass baritone, singing the role of Frederick Douglass, and Zanaida Robles, soprano.  Also, Maurice Duruflé’s  Requiem featuring Alexandra Grabarchuk, mezzo soprano, will be performed.

Mechem, a native of Kansas, graduate of Stanford and Harvard, has been honored and recognized for his contributions by the United Nations, the National Endowment for the Art, and the National Gallery.

The central figure in this cantata is Frederick Douglass (1818-1895), an escaped slave, who became the greatest African-American leader of the 19th century. The music and text are hauntingly beautiful, embracing the pain, the brokenness, the strength and the courage that together from the story of America.

In this time when our nation is again striving to address and heal the sins of slavery and racism, we hear, in the cantata’s climax, Douglass and choir proclaim the conviction and challenge of our Declaration of Independence: “all men are created equal.”

Bring your family, friends, and neighbors and together, through the beauty and power of music, let us again be inspired to “Be the Hope.”

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