By Francesca Norsen Tate
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
It’s a story about music’s power to persevere through adversity.
The Cathedral Choir of Nativity Cathedral, Bethlehem, PA and the Roman Catholic parish of Sacred Hearts-St. Stephen’s Church are making it possible for the Cobble Hill Consort to present a long-awaited joint Evensong service.
Last spring, the Cathedral Choir had agreed to sing with the Cobble Hill Consort, the community chorus combined with the Christ Church parish choir. However, the ensemble’s home church, on Clinton at Kane in Cobble Hill suffered extensive damage last July when a lightning strike on the church tower last July caused a quarter of the tower to fall through the roof and floor of the church, and killed a passerby, well-known attorney Richard Schwartz.
However, the singers were determined not to forego the opportunity to sing together, so a long search began to determine who might host such a combined Evensong.
The Parish of Sacred Hearts/St. Stephens, at Summit and Hicks streets in Carroll Gardens, has generously agreed to host the combined choirs, musicians and clergy of Christ Church, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn and the Cathedral Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in a service of Evensong for the Lenten Season. The service will take place on the 4th Sunday in Lent, March 10, at 4 p.m. in their church. This sung service will include anthems, psalms and canticles by famous British composers, sung by both choirs. Canon Jackson, a native of Durham, England, will be accompanist. Donald Barnum, director of Music for the Parish of Christ Church, will conduct the ensembles. Music includes the Preces and Responses by Canon Jackson, the Psalm by William Russell (1777-1813), the traditional evening canticles (Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis) by T. Tertius Noble (1867-1953), the a cappella motet Call to Remembrance by Richard Farrant (c. 1535-1580), and the anthem, Like As the Hart by Herbert Howells (1892-1983). The Dean of the Bethlehem Cathedral, the Reverend Anthony Pompa, will preach a short homily. This is open to all with no admission charge. The congregation is invited to greet and share a glass of wine with the choirs, musicians and members of both congregations at the end of the service in the back of the church.
The following Sunday, March 17, the ensembles will repeat the Evensong, this time at the Cathedral in Bethlehem, PA. Raymond Trapp, director of music for the Vanderveer Park United Methodist Church in Flatbush, and dean of the Brooklyn Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, will drive the Christ Church crew to Bethlehem, PA. Barnum is a former Dean of the Brooklyn chapter. Canon Jackson is a former Dean of the Lehigh Valley Chapter, so this is a big event in Guild circles. Mr. Trapp will sing tenor with the chorus in Bethlehem. As Dean, he has been active in recruiting new members for the chapter, as well as increasing the chapter's outreach in education.
Since the tower’s collapse of the tower, the Christ Church congregation has been without use of its own sanctuary. The neighboring Kane Street Synagogue has hosted Christ Church, providing worship space. The parish of Sacred Hearts/St. Stephens has housed Christ Church’s daily preschool program. Everyone involved with Christ Church is extremely grateful to the kindnesses of both congregations.
* * *
Next Film In First Unitarian Church’s Series Focuses on Women Caught in Crossfire
“WE WOMEN WARRIORS,” a documentary film about the conflict in Colombia where indigenous peoples are caught in the crossfire among guerrillas, drug cartels and armed forces, was presented last Friday at First Unitarian Church.
“WE WOMEN WARRIORS” was shown as part of the second year of the Women’s Alliance’s Free Film Series, featuring full-length dramatic or documentary films that were created by women writers, producers or directors or which exhibit the strength of women in their subject. This year’s previous presentations have included Arranged, a dramatization of the modern-day story of two orthodox women friends—one Jewish and one Muslim—both being pressured by their families to accept an arranged marriage; and Life Through a Lens, a documentary of renowned photographer, Annie Leibowitz. A highly successful film shown in the first year of the series was Pray the Devil Back to Hell, documenting a peace movement called “Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace. This movement led to the election of the first female president of an African nation.
The director of “WE WOMEN WARRIORS, Nicole Karsin, spent more than three years filming in Colombian villages. First Unitiaran Church member Wayne Christensen represents the “Liga de Mujeres Despazadas” (League of Displaced Women) in the U.S. and will give a brief presentation before the film, based on his first-hand experience in the area. The Alliance chose this organization to receive the contributions of its members to the Women’s Advocacy Organizations fund for 2013. A collection will also be taken after the film to support “Liga de Mujeres Despazadas.”
* * *
Brooklyn Synagogues Join Shabbat Across America
Last Friday night, hundreds of synagogues across the continent took part in an historic national Jewish event to celebrate what unifies all Jews — Shabbat! Everyone is invited… singles, couples, families — all ages.
That’s the magic of Shabbat Across America and Shabbat Across Canada. By participating in this continent-wide event, one had the opportunity to experience Shabbat, to share the experience with tens of thousands of Jews across North America.
A typical Shabbat Across America weekend offers a “taste” of Shabbat. Explanatory services, traditional rituals, delicious meals and lively discussions are all important components of the Shabbat experience. as well as the opportunity to spend the evening with like-minded people, friends and family.
Several Brooklyn congregations participated, including Congregation Mount Sinai, Shore Parkway Jewish Center, Flatbush & Shaare Torah Jewish Center, Temple Beth Emeth V'Ohr, East Midwood Jewish Center, Temple Beit Hillel of Flatlands, Temple Sholom of Flatbush, Congregation Beth Sholom, Congregation Beth Tikvah and Progressive Temple Beth Ahavath.
* * *
Church That Is Part of Song’s History Hosts Program on ‘Hallelujah’
According to a longtime Christian tradition, the word ‘Alleluia’ and its various spellings are not to be proclaimed during the penitential season of Lent.
But how about a time set aside to reflect on the meaning of this word, as another preparation for Easter, especially when it’s the subject of a new book?
The Church of St. Ann & the Holy Trinity will host a book reading by Alan Light, author of The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley and the Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah”. The day’s event will include a live performance of the musical work referenced in the book, “Hallelujah” featuring the Brooklyn-based Guggenheim Grotto.
First recorded in 1984, “Hallelujah” is now a pop culture staple, covered by hundreds of artists including Bob Dylan, U2, Bon Jovi, k.d. lang, Justin Timberlake, Susan Boyle, and Celine Dion. It has been featured in movies and on television shows ranging from Shrek to The West Wing. It eventually became the go-to song in times of national tragedy, chosen by VH1 for its official post-9/11 tribute video, and most recently by The Voice in tribute to the victims of Sandy Hook.
St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church is the site of a memorable 1991 career-making performance of “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley at a tribute concert for his father called “Greetings from Tim Buckley.” In 1994, Jeff Buckley recorded what is arguably the definitive version of the song.
Praised as a “masterful work of critical journalism” (Kirkus Reviews), The Holy or the Broken tells the story of how Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” rocked an entire culture. Through in-depth Interviews with its interpreters and the key figures who were actually there for its original recordings, Alan Light follows the unlikely journey of Cohen’s haunting and inscrutable song from obscurity to international anthem. The Holy or the Broken gives insight into how great songs come to be, how they are listened to, and how they can be forever reinterpreted.
Alan Light is a frequent contributor to the New York Times and Rolling Stone, and former editor-in-chief of Vibe and Spin magazines. Copies of The Holy or the Broken will be available for purchase and signing at the reading. The event begins at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 10. St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church, is at Clinton and Montague streets in Brooklyn Heights.
The reading will begin with a live performance of “Hallelujah” by the Guggenheim Grotto, an Irish folk-pop group now based in Brooklyn.
A suggested donation of $10.00 is requested to help sustain the church and host timely community events. For further information, contact St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church at 718-875-6960 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.stannholytrinity.org.
* * *
Volunteer Corps from St. Francis College Will Beautify Williamsburg Senior Center
The spring flowers are coming, thanks to St. Francis College.
As part of St. Francis College’s Day of Service, more than 50 students and faculty gathered at the Catholic Charities Northside Senior Center last Saturday to plant flowers and assist in spring cleaning this bustling senior center.
Volunteers will help organize, refurbish and beautify three floors of the senior center in Williamsburg Seniors will be on-hand planting flowers to transform and brighten up the entrance of the senior center, which serves as a home away from home for more than sixty seniors daily. As a token of gratitude, seniors will serve a hot lunch that the center’s resident chef will prepare to the volunteers. The seniors will also speak on what this makeover means to them.
The Home Depot was the generous donor of the flowers and potting supplies for the gardening project.
The Catholic Charities Northside Senior Center provides an array of services to our seniors residing in the Williamsburg community. Our senior centers serve over 8,300 seniors each year and offer recreational and multicultural activities, hot lunches, home delivered meals, entitlement counseling, crucial social services, and the necessary support so that seniors can continue to live in their homes and in their neighborhoods as they age. The Center is at 179 North 6th Street.