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St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Presents “I Hear America Singing” – Lee’s Summit Tribune



July 17, 2021

The Music Ministry of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at Lee’s Summit will present a celebration of American liberty and freedom titled “I Hear America Singing” at 4:00 pm. The celebration will include a 45-minute concert of festive choral selections followed by a reception with wine, lemonade, watermelon and cookies. The event is free and the public is welcome.

Dr William Baker

St. Paul A Cappella will perform seven selections from the colonial period and the decades of the 19th century before the Civil War. These will include two works by the first American composer, William Billings, songs from the sacred harp era of “shaped note song” and African-American spirituals. St. Paul A Cappella is an ensemble of ten selected voices which is one of the resident ensembles of the Episcopal Parish of St. Paul. The group sings weekly in the liturgies of the congregation, performing works from the Renaissance to the 20th century.

The main feature of the concert will be Randall Thompson’s The Testament of Freedom which will be sung by a male choir of singers from the community. Attendees will include the men of the St. Paul Choir, the Summer Singers of Lee’s Summit and guests from other choirs in the area.

The Testament of Freedom was composed during World War II by the eminent American composer Randall Thompson. The texts are drawn from the writings of Thomas Jefferson and reveal the emerging ideas that led to the Declaration of Independence. The four movements include excerpts from A Summary View of the Rights of British America (1774), Declaration of the Causes and Necessities of the Taking of Arms (1775), and correspondence with Founding Father John Adams. The work is deeply moving and inspiring in its central theme, “The God who gave us life gave us freedom at the same time. The hand of force can destroy them but cannot separate them.

The concert part of the celebration will end with the famous setting to music by Peter Wilhousky of Battle Hymn of the Republic sung by the combined choirs and the audience. The choirs will be led by Dr. William Baker, who was appointed Music Director of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in September 2020. Michelle Reed, accompanist for the Summer Singers of Lee’s Summit, will be on the piano. The reception will be provided by the Friends of the Music of Saint-Paul. Located at 416 SE Grand Ave., Lees Summit, MO 64063.

Admission is free and the public is invited.

For more information, please email [email protected] or call 816-524-3651.