LRU News

Bach Festival Days to Highlight Life and Works of Johann Sebastian Bach

Thu Sep 20 2012

LR Student Rehearse for Back Festival Days

HICKORY, N.C. — The Music Department and Sacred Music Program of Lenoir-Rhyne University will sponsor Bach Festival Days highlighting the life and works of Johann Sebastian Bach October 7-10. The Church Musicians-in-Residence and Bach experts this year are Dr. Russell Stinson from Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas, and the Reverend Michael Costello, Director of the Bach Vesper Series and Cantor of Grace Lutheran Church and School, River Forest, Illinois, and an alumnus of Lenoir-Rhyne.  Additional performers will include university organist Professor Florence Jowers, adjunct instructor Amalie Hinson, and the choirs of Lenoir-Rhyne University.  All events will be held in the Mauney Music Building on the university campus and are free and open to the public.

Dr. Stinson is a widely published Bach scholar.  Oxford University Press will soon release his latest book, J. S. Bach at His Royal Instrument: Essays on His Organ Works.  PastorCostello recently led the Grace Choir in a Bach cantata with orchestra during worship at St. Thomas Church, Leipzig, where Bach served as Cantor.  Both presenters will share their expertise on Bach in lectures, discussions, lessons, rehearsals, and worship performance.

Events during the Bach Festival Days include:

  • Sunday, October 7, 4:00 pm. Dr. Stinson and Florence Jowers will present a collaborative organ recital of Bach works with narrative “Bach and the Organ” by Dr. Stinson and sung chorale settings by Instructor Amalie Hinson.
  • Monday, October 8, 10:00 am.  Dr. Stinson will speak on “Bach in the Year of His Promotion, 1714.”
  • Monday, October 8, 1:00 pm.  Dr. Stinson will speak on  “Bach Cantata 78–A Fusion of Form and Style.”
  • Monday, October 8, 7:30 pm.  Dr. Stinson and Rev. Costello will speak on “Bach’s Vocation and Ours.”
  • Tuesday, October 9, 3:00 pm.  Rev. Costello will speak on “Performing Bach in Worship.”
  • Wednesday, October 10, 10:00 am.  Chapel Service with Dr. Stinson, Rev. Costello, and the choirs of Lenoir-Rhyne University.

Since 1996 the Sacred Music Program of Lenoir-Rhyne University has trained students to serve in church vocations, and has prepared them for further graduate study in music and theology.  Graduates serve as full or part-time church musicians in a variety of denominations across the country.

For additional information on the Bach Festival, contact Dr. Paul Weber, Professor of Church Music and Director of Choral Activities at LR at 828-328-7149.

About Dr. Russell Stinson:
Russell Stinson is a musicologist, organist, and lifelong church musician. A native of Athens, Georgia, he grew up in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, where as a high-school student he succeeded his mother Gwyn as the organist at Wilkesboro Baptist Church. He is a widely published Bach scholar, with five books to his credit as well as numerous articles, reviews, and editions. Stinson is also a contributor to the revised edition of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. His latest book, J. S. Bach at His Royal Instrument: Essays on His Organ Works, will be published this fall by Oxford University Press.

While an undergraduate organ major, Stinson studied with John Mueller at the North Carolina School of the Arts and with Paul Jenkins at Stetson University, and he spent his summers and semester breaks as a student of Anton Heiller, Arthur Poister, and Russell Saunders. Following graduate work in musicology at the University of Chicago, where his dissertation supervisor was Robert L. Marshall, he taught music history at the University of Michigan and Stony Brook University.

For the past fifteen years, Stinson has taught at Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas, where he is the Josephine Emily Brown Professor of Music and College Organist. Stinson has lectured across the United States as well as in Germany and the United Kingdom, and for his research in European archives he is the recipient of grants from IREX, DAAD, and the American Bach Society. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Riemenschneider Bach Institute and of the Editorial Board of the series Bach Perspectives, published by the University of Illinois Press in conjunction with the American Bach Society. He also serves as Organist-Choirmaster at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Batesville, Arkansas.

About Reverend Michael Costello:
Michael CostelloMichael D. Costello is the Cantor of Grace Lutheran Church and School in River Forest, IL. At Grace, Michael serves as the primary organist, directs the Senior Choir and 5–8 Grade Boys Choir, and directs the Bach Cantata Vespers ministry, now in its 42nd year. In the August 2012, Michael led members of the Grace choir on a tour of Germany. The highlight of this tour was participating in a Sunday service at the Leipzig Thomaskirche, where Bach served as Cantor from 1723 until his death in 1750.

Michael graduated from Lenoir-Rhyne in 2001, where he studied organ with Professor Florence Jowers and Sacred Music with Dr. Paul D. Weber. During his collegeyears at Lenoir-Rhyne, Michael gained valuable experience in music ministry at St. Stephens Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod, where he served as Director of Music and Worship (1998–2002).

Michael earned his Master of Divinity at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, SC, where he also served for two years on the adjunct faculty in music and liturgy. During those years, Michael also served as Assistant Pastor (2006–2008) and Director of Music Ministries (2002–2008) for St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church, also in Columbia.

Known best for his creative hymn improvisations and sensitive service playing, Michael is the winner of several awards in organ performance and a composer of both organ and choral music. Michael is married to Rebekah Weant Costello, also a graduate of both Lenoir-Rhyne and Southern Seminary. Michael and Rebekah have two children, Andrew Doyle and Lydia Marie.

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