Mormon Choir of Washington Gives Concert
By Cari B. Clark
As part of a concert series, the First Presbyterian Church of Annandale hosted the Mormon Choir of Washington on Palm Sunday. The 100 voices of the Mormon Choir are local members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints living in Maryland and Virginia.
With a theme centering on Jesus Christ’s atonement and resurrection, the Mormon Choir performed a series of Christian hymns and other songs, punctuated by narration by Cori Ann Adams.
“We all share a belief in Jesus Christ,” stated Rev. Chris Looker, pastor of First Presbyterian. Dr. Looker spoke about being better Christians and the community coming together in worship of Christ. But he also feels quite passionately about the arts as a part of Christian worship. “I want to bring [the arts] back to the particular (meaning individual congregations) church.
“I feel that focusing more on artistic expression has brought a whole new energy to my ministry and my life,” Dr. Looker continues. “We have such a glorious history of ecclesiastical art—doing something beautiful for the Lord.”
Shawn Cooper, a member of the Rolling Valley ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, attended the concert, along with approximately 200 other music lovers. “It was very entertaining, yet reverent at the same time,” Cooper states. “The theme was the Atonement of Christ and His resurrection. It was appropriate for all age groups.
“There was a nice feeling of camaraderie, and it was a wonderful opportunity for the local Latter-day Saint congregations to mingle with this Presbyterian congregation,” Cooper says.
Dr. Looker concurs. “The concert was magnificent. I felt so very blessed to host it at our church. It was like heaven—those people sang so beautifully!”
The concert series is part of an ongoing effort to fund an overhaul of First Presbyterian’s organ, a mechanical tracker organ built in the 1970s. Felipe Dominguez, the organist, explains, “The concerts are free, but we do pass the plate for an offering,” during each program. Dominguez, who has been the organist at First Presbyterian since 2011, continues, “It’s a great place to sing.” Dominguez is an accomplished organist, with a master’s degree in organ performance from Brigham Young University. He met one of the Mormon Choir’s directors, Dave Hardin, and they discussed a future interfaith concert—the one that came to fruition on April 13.
“First Presbyterian has excellent acoustics, and it’s nice to contribute to a good cause,” remarks Cooper, referring to the organ restoration. In addition to funding the organ’s repair, donations also go to First Presbyterian’s music fund, and to a scholarship fund. Approximately $700 was collected at the Palm Sunday concert.
The Mormon Choir of Washington’s partnership with First Presbyterian of Annandale was so successful, a concert of patriotic music is planned by both groups for 2015.
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