“In addition to being a concert artist, my other favorite musical role is leading God’s people in worship with music that is alive, expressive, and powerfully engaging — this will be a great day for that!”
— Dr. Bradley Hunter Welch, special guest organist at upcoming Christmas Music Festival
‘Tis the season for cheerful carols and merry melodies! Every year during Advent, FUMCFW selects a special Sunday to celebrate the joy of the holidays in song. Peggy Graff, Organist and Associate Director of Music Ministries, defines it as one Sunday during the Advent season that is earmarked during worship to highlight a major work as a gift to the congregation. “We’re topping that off with another way to commemorate this great organ that has enhanced our Sanctuary and our worship experience,” Peggy declares. The 2015 Christmas Music Festival will feature Dr. Bradley Hunter Welch as our guest organist together with our own Peggy Graff, Choral Union, and brass and percussion accompaniment.
Hailed as a “world-class virtuoso,” Dr. Bradley Hunter Welch’s mesmerizing performance at FUMCFW’s organ dedication concert last spring was nothing short of spectacular, and we are thrilled to welcome him back to perform at this year’s Christmas Music Festival on Sunday, December 13. “It was a great joy to play the inaugural concert on the church’s incredible new Sanctuary pipe organ this past March, so I am excited to have the opportunity now to use the instrument in its primary role — leading worship,” Dr. Welch exclaims. “It is a pleasure to make music at a church with such a strong history and with great people like Peggy Graff and Robert Stovall currently leading the Music Ministry. Returning to be part of the worship life of this congregation is also a great privilege, especially with such a grand and thrilling instrument to play!”
Dr. Welch says that having nearly limitless tone colors and a gigantic dynamic range makes this organ incredibly versatile for leading the congregation in joyous song, supporting the choir with beautiful textures of sound, and performing expressive literature to set the tone for the worship service. As Peggy explains, “He utilizes the entire organ to capture the essence of the literature he performs. He does that with such skill and musicality.” We will continue to celebrate the Anne S. and Henry B. Paup Sanctuary Pipe Organ throughout this morning of beautiful music.
In addition to being a concert artist, Dr. Welch reveals that his other favorite musical role is leading God’s people in worship with music that is alive, expressive, and powerfully engaging — and he knows this will be a great day for that. “This Christmas Festival will be a joyous celebration of Christ’s incarnation using great organ music, exciting choral works, favorite hymns of the season, big brass forces, and meaningful spoken meditations — all in the context of a worship service,” Dr. Welch adds. Following Dr. Welch’s short solo concert, Peggy Graff and Choral Union will perform Gloria by John Rutter and A Christmas Gloria by Gary Fry, along with brass and percussion accompaniment. There will also be a heartwarming arrangement of What Child Is This by Barlow Bradford.
Dr. Welch says his hope is that worship on this special Sunday will draw every person closer to God. “I pray everyone will be powerfully engaged by the music, prayers, meditations by Dr. Bruster, and by the simple act of being together as a fellowship celebrating and witnessing to the love of Christ,” he says. “Through music and worship that will be, by turns, joyous and introspective, I hope that everyone will not only ‘enjoy’ the experience — but more so will be changed by the mystery (and fact!) that God loved us enough to become human and show the full extent of his infinite love for every one of us. Thanks be to God!”
As Peggy describes it, the brilliance of this season of wonder will be experienced through music in this meaningful worship service. Be sure to join us in the Sanctuary on Sunday, December 13, at the 9:15 and 11:00 am services to embrace joyful music of the season as a congregation.