Turning Secular into Sacred

Seeing the sacred in anything that helps us experience beauty or challenges us to think in a new way is akin to turning water into wine, I’ve always thought.  We have opportunities every day to take a mundane moment and create a holy moment, though we probably squander many of of those opportunities in our hurry through life.  I’ll speak for myself anyway…yes, I have an abundance of such opportunities and I do regularly squander them.

Five years ago St. Alban’s began a series of 45 minute programs on Friday afternoons that were meant to give you a chance to slow down briefly and experience what might be termed as “secular” in a sacred space, making connections you might not have made before.  This season’s Arts@Midday offerings are as varied as ever, and certainly not mundane!  If your Friday permits this week (or any of the other eight Fridays when programs are offered), join us at 12:15 for the fifth season’s opening program.   These take place in the church and are free.  A@M 2014-2015 flyer. Don’t squander these nine opportunities to experience holy, and even unique, moments of artistry.  And perhaps you will discover, or rediscover, that art in all its forms fosters worship.

koto 1September 19 Koto Music: Reminiscences, the Sea, and Seabirds with Miyuki Yoshikami, koto and Amy Thomas, flute in a mixture of classical and contemporary pieces, the program will provide tips on how to listen to Japanese koto music. The program will include: Omoide no Uta goe (Songs of Nostalgia), Rokudan and Rokudan-Flute, music by Washington area composer Lori Laitman and Haru no Umi (Sea at Spring) by Miyagi Michio.

October 17 OperaBelle with Angela Knight, soprano, Katherine Keem, soprano and Anna Korsakova, Mezzo-Soprano, this trio of opera singers will present a selection of operatic arias, ensembles, art songs, and Broadway hits in Italian, French, German, English, Korean, and Russian. OperaBelle is a concert group of three female professional opera singers from the Washington National Opera.

November 14 Samuel Becket’s Molloy with John Daniel Reaves in a stage adaptation of excerpts from Molloy by Samuel Beckett, created and performed by John Daniel Reaves. Combining the serious and the outrageously comic, the story revolves around questioning the brutality of World War II and ultimately wondering about the meaning of life.

December 12 A Colonial Christmas. Christmas in colonial America was very different than one might imagine – Puritan New Englanders actually banned the holiday for awhile and imposed fines on anyone caught reveling. But a deep musical tradition still flourished around the holiday, and flutist Tyler St. Clare will lead the audience in an exploration of some of the history and sounds of Christmas Day in colonial America.

January 23 Music and the Arts on the Cusp of Modernism, a performance of Erwartung, a short opera from the early, lesser known Romantic period of composer Arnold Schoenberg and a discussion on how he would influence music for the rest of the 20th century. This psychological monodrama follows one woman’s ramblings as she wanders alone in an eerie forest. Performed by soprano Meagan Brus, clarinetist Eric Umble, and pianist Sophia Vastek.

February 20 Word Dance Theater is inspired by modern dancer Isadora Duncan’s innovative and humanistic approach to art, Word Dance Theater is dedicated to continuing the legacy of Ms. Duncan’s revolutionary spirit. Join us in an interactive, open rehearsal where you will participate with dancers, musicians and actors rehearsing and refining a section of Word Dance Theater’s next theatrical production.

March 13 Meditations in Words and Music.  Organist and pianist Sonya Sutton in a program of meditative music and readings that promise to quiet your mind and create an introspective Lenten experience.

April 17 Halleluia! with Mary Shaffran, soprano in a concert of sacred and secular songs of that feature Hallelujah and Alleluia in all its glorious forms. Coming out of a penitent Lenten season, enjoy a joyous concert filled with songs of praise, featuring Bach, Mozart and a newly commissioned work by David Caleb.

May 15 Afro-Latin World Percussion with Luis Garay. An interactive performance by master percussionist Luis Garay that will include original Afro-Latin music performed on the berimbao, balafon, hand drums and more.

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