Bethany Music Series


The goal of the Music Series is to provide free concerts of classical and sacred music for the community and the church.
Olga Ljungholm is the director of the Bethany Music Series, as well as the Minister of Music at Bethany Covenant Church. Olga is a native of Moscow, Russia, where she graduated from Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory of Music.

The 2013-2014 Music Series presents:

Sunday, October 20, 2013, 4:00 p.m.
New England Spiritual Ensemble
“Triumph of the Spirit!”
The Music Series season leads off with one of America’s finest interpreters of traditional Negro spirituals.  Based in Boston, the Ensemble is comprised of 10 classically-trained vocalists whose individual credits range from guest appearances with symphony orchestras to feature performances at jazz festivals. The New England Spiritual Ensemble is devoted to “preserving the art and tradition of Negro spirituals” and is modeled after the classically-trained Fisk Jubilee Singers who, in the late nineteenth century, enthralled Europe with their renditions of spirituals.
The Ensemble has been heard on CBS Sunday Morning, National Public Radio’s Performance Today, is the subject of several public television features and has toured nationally and internationally. Their first recording titled Comin’ Up Shouting features the arrangements of spirituals and works of John Andrew Ross.

Sunday,  December 15, 2013, 4:00 p.m.
Christmas with the Bethany Sanctuary Choir
We sing “Gloria!”
Celebrate Christmas with us at our favorite musical event of the year!  Bethany Sanctuary Choir joined by friends and soloists present a program of Christmas anthems, featuring John Rutter’s magnificent “Gloria,” accompanied by spectacular Bethany Brass and organist Natasha Ulyanovsky.  The Christmas Story will be told through dynamic music of many styles, drama and poetry. The concert will include favorite carols for choirs and audience, accompanied by the Festival Orchestra. Messengers of God Youth Choir, Bethany Chorale and others will participate. Music Director: Olga Ljungholm.

Sunday, March 2, 2014, 4:00 p.m.
Joe Utterback
American Jazz Pianist
Celebrated American jazz pianist, composer, and recording artist, “Dr. Joe” Utterback is a featured performer throughout the U.S. From the Tony Awards dinners in New York City to music festivals across the country, his high-energy piano jazz delights audiences. Joe grew up in Wichita, Kansas, developing an exuberant traditional jazz style. He added the high refinement of sensuous and sophisticated harmonies, building on the sounds of famed American jazz pianist Bill Evans, subject of his doctoral degree. “Dr. Joe” recently released another of his many CDs, Souvenirs! to mark fifty years of performing. In Connecticut, Joe Utterback directs the Stratford Sister Cities Chorus and serves as Director of Music and organist at the First Congregational Church of Stratford. He is an active composer who has written sacred works for choir, pipe organ and piano.  He recently composed the Newtown Requiem to honor the victims of the tragic event. Utterback will be joined by Bethany Sanctuary Choir and Olga Ljungholm (organist).

Sunday, April 6, 2014, 4:00 p.m.
The Bluegrass Gospel Project
The Bluegrass Gospel Project has been impressing audiences with expertly-rendered performances since its inception in 2001, becoming “one of New England’s premier concert acts” (Seven Days). At its start, the BGP focused primarily on the music from which they drew their name. Over the years, the band’s repertoire has grown to include folk, pop and bluegrass songs that range from U2 to Stanley Brothers, from Dylan to Louvin Brothers.
“Whether your interests are sacred or secular, their music ripples with human emotion and imponderable mystery, beautifully evoking the plaintive pilgrim that wanders, yearning and hopeful, through the heart of American musical tradition.”  –The Boston Globe.
Members of the Bluegrass Gospel Project are: Colby Crehan (vocals); Taylor Armerding (vocals, mandolin); Steve Light (banjo, Dobro, guitar, bass vocals); Kirk Lord (upright bass); Paul Miller (vocals, guitar); Gene White, Jr (fiddle, percussion).

Sunday, May 18, 2014, 4:00 p.m.
Gabriel Fauré’s “Requiem”
Combined choirs of Bethany Covenant Church and First Church of Christ OF Wethersfield
The concert will be a long-awaited reunion of two choirs, which have a rich history of singing major choral sacred works together! The combined choirs of 70 plus voices will present “Requiem” Opus 48 for Choir and Soprano Solo, by world-famous French composer Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924).This choral masterwork is a favorite of many choirs and audiences for its lovely harmonies and spiritual sensitivity. The performance will mark the 90th anniversary of Fauré’s death. Conductor: Olga Ljungholm, Organist and the director of the First Church of Christ Choir: David Spicer. Organist will be joined by a chamber instrumental ensemble.

All concerts are – Free admission – Free-will offering – Reception following – Childcare – Bus from CVOC provided
Support: You may support our music series through sponsorship (Sponsor: $500 and up, Donor: $200-$499, Friend: $50-$199, or Supporter: $25-$49) or the purchase of advertising space in the 2009-2010 concert programs: Full page (8.5″x5.5″): $300, Half page: $150, Quarter page: $100, or Business Card: $50.

Thank you again for your generous gifts which make it possible for us to bring more beautiful sacred and classical music to our congregation and the community at large. Each tax-deductible donation beyond the free-will offering during our concerts will be acknowledged in a special thank you insert in all concert programs unless you request the gift to be anonymous.

Please contact Olga Ljungholm or the church office (860-828-3637) for details on showing your support!

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