Composer pens music for sister-city anniversary
By Emily Ford
SALISBURY — A local organist has penned a musical composition to honor the 10th anniversary of the sister-city relationship with Salisbury, England.
Davis Cooke and the Evensong choir will premiere “Sarum Service” at 5:30 p.m. Sunday at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. “Sarum” is the medieval name for “Salisbury.”
The composition is a sung evening prayer service, performed without accompaniment.
A self-described “amateur church musician,” Cooke told Salisbury City Council on Tuesday he was inspired to compose “Sarum Service” by the sister-city relationship, which he called “real, personal and lasting.”
Cooke presented a copy of the composition to Council.
“This is a beautiful way to honor our sister city and our relationship with them, and we do encourage the public to come and hear this,” Mayor Susan Kluttz said.
Cooke began organizing and directing monthly Evensong services at St. Luke’s in 2003 to pay homage to the rich musical tradition of the Anglican Church. The recent royal wedding at Westminster Abbey was a perfect example, he said.
Evensong is drawn almost entirely from the Bible and is intended to evoke a response of praise, penitence, prayer and obedience from worshippers.
Much of the service is sung in language spoken and written more than 400 years ago.
“It may sound old-fashioned, but its meaning is not out of date,” Cooke said.
Visitors from Salisbury, England, arrived here in May 2001, and the formalization of the sister-city tie is memorialized in a bronze plaque in the sidewalk in front of City Hall.
Also on Tuesday, City Council:
• Honored retiring police officers and authorized them to keep their gun and badge, including Lt. Karen Barbee, Master Police Officer Phil Simmons, Master Police Officer Mark Shue and Detective Danny Dyles.
• Adopted a five-year master plan for Rowan County/City of Salisbury Community Transportation Service Plan.
Passengers surveyed for the plan said strengths of the service include feeling safe, friendly drivers and clean vehicles. Improvements they’d like to see included more on-time service, more frequent service, longer hours on Saturday and service on Sunday.
The master plan will be implemented as funding becomes available. Half of the city’s transit service is paid for with federal funds.
• Agreed to support a grant application by Downtown Salisbury Inc. in pursuit of funding for the Empire Hotel and other projects.
• Agreed to pursue a COPS federal grant that would pay 100 percent of the salaries for four police officers for three years.
• Recognized the Rowan-Cabarrus Community College Student Government Association for winning the Top “C” Campus Award at the N.C. Comprehensive Community College Student Government Association conference.
• Recognized GIS Coordinator Kathryn Clifton for receiving the designation of Environmental Systems Research Institute certified trainer.
• Heard a report on the Choice Neighborhoods federal grant, which the city is pursuing.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.
Want to go?
What: Premiere of “Sarum Service,” a sung evening prayer service
When: 5:30 p.m. Sunday during the monthly Evensong
Where: St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, 131 W. Council St.
Why: To honor the 10th anniversary of the sister-city relationship with Salisbury, England
What is Evensong like?
When you come to Evensong, it is as if you were dropping in on a conversation already in progress — a conversation between God and his people which began long before you were born and will continue long after you are dead.
So, do not be surprised or disturbed if there are some things which you do not understand straight away.
…Most of the service is sung by the choir. The people participate by reflecting on the parts of the service sung on their behalf, by joining in the portions that are said, and in some cases sung by them as well, and by standing, sitting or kneeling at the appropriate times during the service.
— from “A Guide to the Order of Evensong”