St. Luke’s Episcopal Church offering lunchtime concert series during Lent

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 25, 2023

SALISBURY — St. Luke’s Episcopal Church will be offering a free midday concert series every Tuesday in Lent. Beginning at 12:10 p.m. each week, the community is invited to enjoy about 40 minutes of music by a variety of performers. On Feb. 28, organist Stephen Williams will offer ancient to modern music that is based on Lenten and Holy Week themes including works by Nikolaus Bruhns, J. S. Bach, Ned Rorem, Marcel Dupre and Jehan Alain.

Williams is director of music ministries at St. Luke’s. He previously served as canon for music ministries and the performing arts at Cathedral Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

The March 7 concert features Ricky Howsare, who will sing Bernstein, Vaughan Williams, along with spirituals and other well-known solos. Howsare serves as contemporary worship leader at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Salisbury. He earned the bachelor of music in vocal performance from the University of Louisville, and has worked as a professional singer in many venues, as well as served churches in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Cellist Gretchen Tracy will play Eli, Eli, Lama Asavtanu (“My God, my God, Why have You Forsaken Me?) and the Bloch Prayer from “Jewish Life” along with works of Saint-Saens and Bach on March 14. Tracy holds bachelor of music and master of arts degrees in performance. She taught cello at Millikin University and has performed as principal cellist with the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra, the Decatur and Danville, Illinois Symphony Orchestras and the Eastern Illinois University/Charleston Community Orchestra and in several chamber ensembles: the Estancia Piano Quartet in Terre Haute, Indiana; Arcadia Baroque in Charleston, Illinois;  and the Catawba String Quartet and Carolina Baroque in Salisbury. She is retired and lives in Salisbury, now also enjoying playing Scruggs-style five-string banjo with various jams in the area, and occasionally with a bluegrass group called “Grant Creek.”

Flutist Rebekah Kelly will perform works of Bach, Faure, Satie and others on March 21. Kelly began playing flute in the fifth grade, but put it down after high school. She has recently rediscovered the joy of playing, thanks to retirement and the skillful guidance of her teacher Karen Frank. She and her husband Jim are members of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.

The series will conclude with a small choral ensemble of singers from around the region singing from the Lenten oeuvre including works by Henry Purcell, Antonio Lotti, Ola Gjeilo, Olivier Messiaen, Ned Rorem, John Rutter and Moses Hogan. All of the programs are designed to help listeners meditate, contemplate and embrace the introspective season that is Lent. The entire community is invited Tuesdays through March 28 at 12:10 p.m. A free-will offering opportunity to support music ministries at St. Luke’s will be available. St. Luke’s is located at 131 W. Council St.

More information may be found at or on the church’s Facebook page.

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