"Southern Harmony" Concert Will Premiere New Hymnal Arrangements

May 2, 2011

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The Armstrong Browning Library will present the "Southern Harmony" concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 7, in McLean Foyer of Meditation inside Armstrong Browning Library on the Baylor campus. A reception will follow in the library's Martin Entrance Foyer.

The event will feature new settings of sacred tunes drawn from the 19th-century hymnal and feature Mia Orosco on the fiddle, the Heritage Square Quartet, and select voices from Live Oak Classical School and Parkview Christian Academy. It will include a composition by award-winning songwriter Kurt Kaiser and a tribute to 19th-century poet Robert Browning's birthday.

Carlos Colón, Baylor's resident composer and Armstrong Browning Library's artist in residence, is the producer of the concert.

The program will be a "kaleidoscope concert that is going to be of interest and of joy to many in the Waco community," he said.

Colón has written a new song for the program, called "Let Us Cross Over the River." It is based on Stonewall Jackson's famous last words before he died. It combines the hymn "Shall We Gather at the River?" with Jackson's words.

Colón has also arranged a new setting of the hymn "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms," which was recently featured in the Academy Award-nominated film True Grit.

The program also will premiere several new arrangements. Colón asked Kurt Kaiser to write a new setting of "Amazing Grace" for a children's choir and strings ensemble.

He also commissioned Greg Scheer, minister of worship at Church of the Servant in Grand Rapids, Mich., to write an arrangement for a tune from the "Southern Harmony" hymnal. Several of the tunes for the program are from this hymnal.

The hymnal, originally published in 1812, was "a very important hymnal in the development of hymnology among Baptists and other evangelical groups," Colón said. "The tunes are beloved hymns in our churches. We are going to hear some fresh new settings, and I think the public will be very pleased with the sound."

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online here.

Armstrong Browning Library is at 710 Speight Ave.

by Susie Typher, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805

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