Friday, April 18, 2014

First Congregational Church presents "The Seven Last Words of Christ"

A rare Good Friday performance of Théodor Dubois' oratorio Les Sept Paroles du Christ (1867) was dedicated to the memory of George and Jean Hove by their daughters, thus concluding the free Friday Lenten Concert series at Elgin's First Congregational Church.

The church's own Chancel Choir, directed by FCC Music Director Jon Warfel, was accompanied by an ensemble of instrumentalists and vocal soloists in delivering an excellent 50-minute program in the historic church sanctuary.

Baritone Bradley Morrison gave skilled and compelling performances in numerous solos throughout the eight movement work, joined with excellent solos from Tenor Brian Mengler and Soprano Sally Szudy. The dedication of the twenty-member choir was evident from their performance — the stirring choruses of "The Fifth Word" were especially well intoned and synchronized.

FCC Chancel Choir and Chamber Orchestra perform
"The Seven Last Words of Christ"
A favorable acoustic environment, comfortable seats and clear visibility can make a good concert into a great experience, and First Congregational's interior provides all of these. The fine singing and the room's resonance combined to make the English lyrics, translated by Theodore Baker, easy to understand.

The contributions of the Church to the advancement of western music in all forms cannot be underestimated, and art of this quality and sincerity truly honor the Creator of the "universal language." The music programming of FCC is a great asset to Elgin and a blessing to listeners. Learn more at

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