The Sonny Houston Bluegrass Band will provide bluegrass-Gospel music and renowned churchman Bishop William Willimon will speak at Meridian Herald’s 22nd annual Southern Folk Advent® Service. The Meridian Chorale will sing and Steven Darsey will direct the music. The event will be held Saturday, December 6, 4:00 p.m. at Old Church on the Oxford College campus in Oxford, Georgia. Admission is free. This year’s service features the majestic singing of opera star Morris Robinson, as well as Atlanta tenor, Timothy B. Miller, famed for his Atlanta Braves home game appearances. They will sing the dramatic folk hymn “The Morning Trumpet” in Steven Darsey’s arrangement, backed by the Meridian Chorale.
Named one of the twelve most effective preachers in the English speaking world, the Reverend Dr. William H. Willimon is Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry at the Divinity School, Duke University. He served eight years as Bishop of the North Alabama Conference of The United Methodist Church. For twenty years prior to the episcopacy, he was Dean of the Chapel and Professor of Christian Ministry at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. Through his prolific writing—with 60 books to his credit, distinguished lectureships—including at Princeton and Harvard, and his prophetic preaching, Bishop Willimon has become one of the world’s most influential Christians.
Since its inaugural service in 1993, Southern Folk Advent® has become an honored holiday tradition. A form of Lessons and Carols, this service is based on folk hymns from the historic Sacred Harp tunebook, compiled in Georgia in 1844. The tunes are presented in a variety of formats, with the Meridian Chorale singing some in original arrangements and the congregation singing others both a cappella and with folk instrumental accompaniment. These hymns arose from the life experience of poor folk struggling to survive in the early 19th century south. Their haunting music embodies the struggles and dreams of generations singing and praying for the coming of Christ. Noted composer and music director Steven Darsey will lead the music. His Georgia heritage and research on the Sacred Harp have engendered a deep love for this music and the people from whom it sprang.
Built in 1841, Old Church springs from the same era and region as The Sacred Harp itself. Old Church is near Oxford College of Emory University in Oxford, Georgia, at the corner of Fletcher and Wesley Streets. For more information and directions, www.meridianherald.org
About Meridian Herald
Meridian Herald exists to promote the interaction of worship, music and culture, bridging communities and traditions of the past and present. Through worship services, concerts, programs, and publications of exceptional quality and artistic character, Meridian Herald seeks to challenge the church and society to higher ideals of creativity and moral purpose, and to address contemporary society's need for imagination and spiritual depth, while emphasizing the indigenous traditions of the South. Established in 1997, Meridian Herald has distinguished itself as a creative force in the cultural life of Atlanta and the Southeast.
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For information about Meridian Herald, Dr. Darsey, and The Meridian Chorale, please visit www.meridianherald.org.