Arts and Entertainment

Island Sinfonia concert celebrates Friday Harbor Presbyterian Church's 150th anniversary

The Island Sinfonia will present its fourth concert of the year, April 24 at 3 p.m. at Friday Harbor Presbyterian Church to celebrate the church's 150th year on San Juan Island.

In 1860, the church was staffed by itinerant ministers from Victoria and welcomed its first musician pianist, Margaret Naylor. In 1870, the Church of Scotland commissioned Reverend T.J. Weekes, also from Victoria, as resident minister. And Margaret Naylor became the Margaret Weekes.

The music continues. The Sinfonia, directed by Dr. Jack Lynch, is also phenomenal, a chamber orchestra spanning our archipelago, all four ferried islands. This year it will annex one more, the Island of America, with guests Lisa (violist) and Jon Humphreys (bass).

The concert will feature Ralph Vaughn Williams, a Welsh islander — an anomaly who, though an atheist, composed hymns; and though an aristocrat, refused a knighthood. Born in 1872 (the year Kaiser Wilhelm I awarded San Juan Island to the United States), Vaughn Williams' life spanned two world wars. Enlisting as a private in World War I, he became a stretcher bearer; later, he tramped the Scottish moors rescuing tunes instead of soldiers as epitomized in "English Folk Songs" and "The Nordic Rhapsody." "A London Symphony" was inspired by the onset of World War II.

The orchestra will include two movements of Ludwig van Beethoven's "Eroica, Movement II," a tribute to Marie Antoinette, defining the end of French royalist philosophy; and "Movement III," to herald Napoleon, the supposed "hero" of liberty and equality.

Sheer "Americana" is contributed by Alec Wilder (1907-1980) with "She'll be Seven in May" and "Seldom the Sun" played by the Wind Ensemble of Orcas Island.

Souvenir DVDs may be ordered after the concert from Elan Video at $15 each. Admission is free but donations will be appreciated.

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