Heritage Singers Highlights
Highlights from the "In Song & Verse" program
Sunday, November 2, 2014
Stirring choral arrangements, melodies and poetry inspired by - and evocative of - heaven and earth floated about St. John's Episcopal Church's sanctuary. If you were among the fortunate attendees, you witnessed one of the best blessings in life: God's gifts being shared and enjoyed among each other. Indeed, if you heard the sounds on this afternoon, you know it is not an exaggeration to describe them as God's voice speaking, singing and even ringing through us and to us.
What a wonderful gift the Heritage Singers shared with St. John’s in choosing to present their "In Song And Verse" program in our church home. This special performance of traditional spirituals and poetry by African-American composers and poets was a treat and blessing. St. John’s extends sincere gratitude to all the members of the Heritage Singers ensemble and Director Iris Haynes for sharing their time and talents with our community.
SJEC choir members said they never had so much fun singing and doubted if they ever sounded better. St. John’s thanks our choir & bell choir members and directors Dennis Van Kouvering, Mair Alsgaard and Julie Falls for all their preparations and their own standout performances!
Brief excerpts from the program are linked below... enjoy!
*indicates brief excerpt of selected title
For all selections and performers, as well as background on the composers and authors, click here to view the event program.
About The Heritage Singers
The ensemble, the Heritage Singers, is dedicated to the performance of the traditional African-American spiritual. This group was initially organized in 1982 as a small chorale requested to sing at a Dr. Martin Luther King program at United Church of Christ in Midland. Under the direction of Iris Haynes, the chorale performed at many functions in the city until the Haynes family moved from the area in 1988. Afterrelocating back to Midland in 1996, the ensemble was reorganized with the name the “Heritage Singers.” In addition to UCC-Midland, the group has performed at Midland’s First Baptist Church, Seventh Day Adventist and Midland’s Center for the Arts.
The name “heritage” refers to the genre of music the ensemble performs, primarily traditional spirituals arranged by African-American composers. Members of the group are mostly from the tri-city area, as well as from Genesee and Oakland counties. One member has come from Mississippi for this performance!
In addition to being a wonderful and unique musical performance, this event has a greater context. As *The Episcopal Church grows more ethnically diverse, we look for opportunities to show how we, in our diversity, can walk together and reconcile the world to God and one another in Christ. We have many different cultures, different traditions, and different languages, but we are one community. In the words of a popular hymn, "All are welcome in this place."
*For more information on The Episcopal Church’s efforts, visit http://www.episcopalchurch.org/page/new-community