The Church Music Institute presented its second Festival of Church Music in the Meyerson Symphony Center, Dallas, on Sunday, November 14, at 7 p.m. This unique event featured a choir of 350 singers from fifteen different churches, the Cincinnati Brass Quintet and other instrumentalists, and the Lay Family Organ. Choral directors were Timothy Sharp, Executive Director of the American Choral Directors Association, and Terry Price, Director of Music at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church, Dallas. Organist was Annette Albrecht, Organist of Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church. The choir sang seventeen anthems, and arrangements of familiar hymns for congregation, choir, and instruments were prominently featured throughout the evening. The 1400-member congregation participated in the singing enthusiastically and with sincere devotion. The evening was truly an offering of praise to God shared among the singers onstage and in the audience.
A special feature of the evening was the recognition of Canon Dr. Paul Lindsley Thomas for his lifetime commitment to church music through his compositions of anthems and organ music and his service to the church as director of music. Dr. Thomas is Director of Music and Organist at The Chapel of the Cross (Episcopal), Dallas, and served in the same capacity for thirty-seven years at St. Michaels and All Angels Episcopal Church, Dallas. Four of Dr. Thomas’ anthems were sung by the choir, and the presentation to the honoree was made by Dr. Charlotte Kroeker, Executive Director of the Church Music Institute, and the Reverend Dr. Robert S. Dannals, Rector of St. Michaels and All Angels Episcopal Church.
Repeated from the 2008 Festival was the Institute’s commissioned signature hymn, For Breath of Life and Voices Strong, sung this year to a new accompaniment for brass and organ by Dr. Thomas. A commissioned anthem receiving its premier performance for this year’s Festival was an arrangement by Hal Hopson of Charles Albert Tindley’s gospel song, Stand By Me for chorus, Pamela King, mezzo-soprano soloist, and Dr. Kroeker, pianist,. This anthem was composed to celebrate the life of Harold W. McGraw, Jr., 1918-2010, and in gratitude for his gift that began the Church Music Institute.
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