performing arts series hits the right chord
By Jeff Gallatin
Published Feb. 9, 2005
members of the Westlake United Methodist Church are hitting a high
note with the expansion of its internal programs like the upcoming
Valentine's Day concert as well as its Performing Arts Series which
includes groups outside the immediate congregation.
who sings in the church choir as well and also helps publicize church
events, said the combination of high-level church events and top-notch
outside performers offers a variety of concerts for music lovers.
to be several different types of songs just at the Valentine's Day
Concert alone," Crisp said. "They'll have a Valentine's Day or love
song type feeling to them. But some will be show tunes, others will
be classic love songs and ballads. There will be some solos, but
we also have some ensemble songs which people should really enjoy."
With show time
for the Valentine's Day concert set for 4 p.m. at the church at
27650 Center Ridge Road, members are fine-tuning their work.
kind of frantic trying to make sure everything is just right," Crisp
said. "There's a lot of pride in making sure we have the performance
just right for the audience and the church."
who directs the music at worship services as well as other church
functions, said bringing in other musical performers as well as
expanding the repertoire of church musical groups, is getting rave
reviews from a lot of sources.
question we're getting positive feedback for both the Series and
the church itself because of the growth of the series," Call said.
"I've been here five years and I'm finding now people both inside
the church as well as people from around the area are looking forward
to seeing what's coming up in the series."
Call said the
growth began when he was looking for ways to expand the interest
in musical programs several years ago.
"I was trying
to see about interest in attending performances outside the church
to try and get additional musical variety for the church," Call
said. "So I eventually wound up getting some other musical groups
to come to the church to try and stimulate additional interest in
music outside the church."
Call said the
performances by The Ohio State University Choir, the Ohio University
Symphonic Choir and a Hand Bells concert all hit the right key with
enough additional interest to have us start expanding our programs
as well as to continue to bring in other outside musical performers,"
Call said. "We also generate interest around the area for the performances
here. We draw interest from all over Cuyahoga County and large parts
of Lorain County for the series."
He said the
cost for concerts can help draw some people into the performances.
is right free, although we do take free-will donations," Call said.
"But most people find that once they come, they really enjoy themselves
and want to come back. We get enough donations to certainly help
keep things going and bring in additional performances by some strong
performers outside the church."
concert by an outside group is the Feb. 25 performance by the University
of Dayton Ebony Heritage Singers.
"It's an accomplished
gospel group which has performed throughout the Midwest," Call said.
"It's gotten honors from a variety of musical organizations, so
its got a higher profile than many groups which perform at churches."
there is a sense of fellowship among musical performers at the church.
"We look forward
to seeing what the different performances and events are going to
be," Crisp said. "With the Valentine's Day concert coming up there
is definitely interest in it in the church. We're working hard to
make sure we have everything right for it."
Crisp, a communications
and marketing specialist in her professional life, said participating
in the choir is a release for her from dealing with her career and
allows me to release some tension and enjoy myself," Crisp said.
"In particular, I enjoy coming to practice on Thursdays. A lot of
us can get together then and really enjoy ourselves."
She said the
music plays a big role in the enjoyment but added it is not the
only reason being in the choir is such a pleasure.
"We can express
ourselves with the music. But we also talk with each other, it's
a chance to catch up with friends as well as seeing what's going
on in the community," she said.
Call said that
sense of community surrounds the musical performers and the church
as a whole.
for more than just the church," Call said. "The church also wants
us to help people and spread the word. This is a certainly a good
way of doing it with the music. By doing good through it, we draw
attention to God and the church and the good that can be done in
the choir members like the challenge of a good musical event to
perform at as well as listening to other musical performers to see
what can be done.
been here about a year-and-half and I really get into it," she said.
"We have a lot of people who have been at the church and in music
a lot longer. We have one member who has been here more than 40
years. There's a tremendous amount of history and knowledge here."
She said the
Performing Arts Series is adding to that history while helping to
build a fine tradition in music for the church.
"We get calls
from different people outside the church about the performing arts,
but people in the church enjoy it as well, both performing and listening,"
an upcoming concert of Bach's Cantata #80 on March 20 as one example.
music," she said. "It appeals to so many people and it's not just
what some people would traditionally consider just church music.
It appeals to a broad spectrum. It's certainly a challenge learning
the German, but great music does challenge you to perform it well.
Call said appealing
to a wide range of people and interest is one of the beautiful parts
of music in general and the Performing Arts Series in particular
will like the same thing or type of performance," he said. "But
we do try and provide enough variety so that people will find something
they enjoy listening to want to come to the concert and the church