by Mike Telin
For hundreds of years some of the greatest music ever written was composed for houses of worship — think of composers such as Palestrina, J.S. Bach, and Moses Hogan. “It’s no mystery why music is so important in the life of a church, but people here can’t seem to get enough of it,” said Geoffrey Peterson, Director of Music and the Arts at John Knox Presbyterian Church in North Olmsted.
On Friday, October 28 at 8:00 pm, the John Knox Performance Series will kick off its third season with a performance by the Cleveland Chamber Choir under the direction of Scott MacPherson. The program, titled “Americana,” will include music by William Billings, Charles Ives, Aaron Copland, John Cage, Samuel Barber, and Stephen Foster, as well as folk songs and spirituals. Read a concert preview here.
“I’m very excited about this concert,” Peterson said. “The Cleveland Chamber Choir is a great addition to the choral music scene in the area. I love the fact that they perform a range of repertoire, including 21st-century music.”
Peterson said that the goal of the Performance Series is to bring music and art offerings to the area’s West Side free of charge. “There are many churches who have had free concert series for years, but not so many on this end of town. And the church is at a fantastic and easily accessible location at Lorain and Great Northern Blvd., which is a big plus.”
The series will continue on Friday, February 24, 2017 at 7:00 pm with a centennial celebration of the music of Thelonious Monk performed by the True North Big Band. Peterson was first introduced to the group when they performed a Frank Sinatra centenary program in 2015. “They sounded fantastic, and since I am always looking for a theme, I wondered if either Mingus or Monk were having a 100th birthday any time soon. I looked up Monk first and sure enough, 2017 is his centenary year, so I proposed the idea to the band and they loved it.”
The series will conclude on Monday, April 24 2017 at 7:00 pm with a performance by the Russian Duo. Balalaika virtuoso Oleg Kruglyakov and classical pianist Terry Boyarsky will perform an eclectic mix of music ranging from Russian roots and classical music to world favorites. “This is another fantastic group,” Peterson said. “I came across them when I was searching the Ohio Artists on Tour website, a program of the Ohio Arts Council. I was looking for something a little different, and when I saw the Duo listed I thought it would make a really cool concert.”
When not managing the concert series, Peterson, who is also a composer, directs the church’s 25-member choir. He noted that there such a thirst for the arts at John Knox that members of the congregation take the initiative to form their own musical groups. “People are always putting together ensembles. We have a number of flute players who formed a flute choir. We also have a bell choir, a brass ensemble, a children’s choir. There’s a band that I’m involved with. Being an old rock and roller and a jazz musician, I enjoy it and have a good time.”
Published on ClevelandClassical.com October 23, 2016.
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