Popular St. Peter’s organ concert is Sunday, Aug. 4

Need a break from global warming?

“St Peter’s Episcopal Church is offering a late afternoon program of light, engaging music to refresh body and spirit,” said Daniel Cherrix, new music director at the Downtown Salisbury church.

The one-hour concert of sacred as well as popular favorites is Sunday, Aug. 4, at 4 p.m., followed by a reception.

Admission is free, and the public is cordially invited. (A voluntary offering will be collected, to support the founding of the new St. Cecilia’s Guild, devoted to celebrating music and musicians.)

Selections will range from J.S. Bach to William Lloyd Webber (father of famed Andrew Lloyd Webber, who composed “The Phantom of the Opera,” and “Jesus Christ, Superstar,” among others).

“This type of recital will appeal to people who don’t necessarily like organ music,” said Cherrix. “And the audience will also have a chance to sing some sacred favorites.”

The St. Peter’s organ is celebrating its one-year birthday in August. Installed by the Walker Technical Co., the new organ is a modern American interpretation of an English cathedral organ.

With 61 ranks over five divisions, special features include six 32-foot stops and 15 solo reeds that the organist praised: “They are wonderful.”

This will be Cherrix’s first solo concert in Salisbury. His father’s family was from Snow Hil, but he was born and raised in North Carolina. Previous professional positions included associate organist and choirmaster at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta and minister of music and organist at Binkley Baptist Church in Chapel Hill.

He earned his Master of Sacred Music at Emory University.

Program highlights include the “Fugue in G minor” (popularized in the Disney movie “Fantasia”); the “Processional” by Welsh composer William Mathias, a contemporary of John Rutter.Mathias wrote music for the 1991 Royal Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer; the “Pastorale and Aviary” by Myron Roberts, which Cherrix describes as a “fun” piece; Webber’s “Summer Pastures,” a short love poem; and a Cherrix favorite, the 20thcentury interpretation of a 19thcentury American hymn “How Firm a Foundation” arranged by French organist Jean Langlais, who was blind.

The summer concert is the first event of the Saint Cecilia Guild, memorializing the second century Roman martyr, now known as the patron saint of musicians.

Upcoming guild events include evensong with a trip to the National Cathedral for a performance by the Royal School of Church Music; a Mid-Winter Cabaret with popular music including jazz and blue grass; and collaborations of students and area musicians with the Salisbury Wicomico Arts Council and the Salisbury University Department of Music, Theatre and Dance.

St. Peter’s Church, built in 1887, was designed by famed Philadelphia architect Charles M. Burns, and “is like no other church in the region,” said its rector, Father David Michaud.

“All are invited to take a break from the heat and experience the musical and architectural beauty within,” he said.

The brick complex is located at 115 St. Peter’s St. Call 410-742-5118 or visit stpeterschurch.net for more information.

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