Community concert to draw from array of large churches, musical genres

cclick@thestate.comApril 3, 2014 

The South Carolina Philharmonic, the choirs of Brookland Baptist Church and First Baptist Church, the First Baptist orchestra and the Capital City Chorale will join in a free community event Sunday night that will feature a range of music styles, from classical and gospel to sacred and jazz.

The 6 p.m. “Evening of Praise” will be held at First Baptist Church, 1306 Hampton St., in downtown Columbia. Admission is free.

The idea for the event originated with the S.C. Philharmonic staff as its members pondered how to engage new audiences, said Kim Williams, education and outreach director for the Philharmonic.

“There were a number of folks who wanted to see more outreach opportunities with the orchestra,” said Williams.

Nicole Neely, a member of the Philharmonic who is also conductor of the youth strings orchestra, suggested tapping into the Midlands’ congregational network. A conversation with First Baptist’s music minister, the Rev. Steve Phillips, in turn led to his suggestion to invite First Baptist’s sister congregation, Brookland Baptist Church, in the musical program. An invitation was extended to the Capital City Chorale, and a musical extravaganza was born.

The pastor of Brookland Baptist, the Rev. Charles Jackson, and the pastor of First Baptist, the Rev. Wendell Estep, are longtime friends, and the two congregations have collaborated on other occasions. The two pastors together will welcome the audience.

“What we wanted to do was bring different kinds of music together,” Williams said. So lovers of classical music will join with those who love sacred music and others who enjoy gospel.

Marcus Works, the founder and director, along with Doris Works, of the Capital City Chorale, will set the stage for the evening with a selection of organ music just prior to the opening orchestral number, “Nothing but the Blood of Jesus.” The S.C. Philharmonic and the First Baptist orchestra will be under the direction of Phillips.

What follows will be selections that include traditional historic hymns such as “O God Our Help in Ages Past,” and “Crown Him Lord of All,” to gospel pieces such as “Rockin’ Jerusalem” and “Joshua Fit the Battle.”

The Philharmonic will entertain with classical pieces such as the “Saint-Saens March Militarie Francaise” and “Sleeping Beauty Waltz” and the finale, Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.”

With the diverse crowd of symphony and sacred music lovers, organizers are hoping for a large crowd.

“We hope that will have standing room only,” said Sylvia Rish, First Baptist’s director of media ministries.

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