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Church concert offers music of mourning, Christian hope

Staff from three area churches are working together to present a choral and organ concert free to the public at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 30 at First Presbyterian Church in Covington. Shown are, bottom from left, Alice Walker, organist, First Presbyterian Church of Covington; Joanne Brown, director of music, Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Covington; top from left, Martha Clay, director of music, Conyers Presbyterian Church; Billy Wade, pastor, First Presbyterian Church of Covington; and Alan Bunn, director of music, First Presbyterian Church of Covington.

Staff from three area churches are working together to present a choral and organ concert free to the public at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 30 at First Presbyterian Church in Covington. Shown are, bottom from left, Alice Walker, organist, First Presbyterian Church of Covington; Joanne Brown, director of music, Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Covington; top from left, Martha Clay, director of music, Conyers Presbyterian Church; Billy Wade, pastor, First Presbyterian Church of Covington; and Alan Bunn, director of music, First Presbyterian Church of Covington.

Three directors and three choirs from three area churches will combine their talents for a free choral concert featuring "Requiem" by Gabriel Faure, as well as other choral works, and an organ duet.

Presented by the combined choirs of Conyers Presbyterian Church, Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd and the First Presbyterian Church of Covington, the concert is set for 2:30 p.m. Oct. 30 at First Presbyterian Church, 1169 Clark St. in Covington.

In addition to the 60 singers, the concert will feature instrumentalists, including a string ensemble, David Hauser on the oboe, Dania Lane on the harp and organists Alice Walker and Becky Ramsey.

Along with "Requiem," the one-hour program will feature the organ duet "Toccata on For All the Saints," and the combined choirs singing, "Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal," by Robert Shaw and Alice Parker; "Comfort, Comfort," by John Ferguson, and "The Lord is my Shepherd," by John Rutter.

Directors for this free communitywide event are Joanne Brown, director of music at Church of the Good Shepherd; Alan Bunn, director of music at First Presbyterian Church of Covington and Martha Clay, director of music at Conyers Presbyterian Church.

"This is the first time we've had these three choirs together and the first time we've done this work, so it's a historic occasion," Alice Walker said. "It was Alan Bunn's wish to do this work, 'Requiem.' It's such a great work and it is a classic."

The concert is taking place on the Sunday before All Saints Day, Nov. 1, a time when liturgical Christian churches hold services of remembrance for those who have died. Walker said the choirs wanted to honor the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 tragedy and wanted to "do something appropriate for the occasion."

"That's what this piece is," she said of "Requiem." "It's a mourning for the dead. There will be other anthems done that day that express the Christian hope. This is going to be a comforting time. There will be prayers in which people can pray for their loved ones."

She said there will be special prayers for the families of those who died in the 9/11 attacks, as well as for emergency personnel and others.

"It will be a time to remember, as well as to look to the future with hope," Walker said.

There is no admission charge for the concert and a nursery will be available. Everyone is invited to come out for an afternoon of music, Walker said.

"It's going to be a great time together," she said.Beth Sexton is a freelance writer based in Snellville, Ga. If you have a story idea, contact Karen Rohr, features editor, at karen.rohr@rockdalecitizen.com.