DPO joins area churches this summer for virtual Stained Glass Series



The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra’s Stained Glass Concert Series, a community-focused collaboration with area churches, is going virtual this summer.

On Sunday, June 13, the DPO provided the first of these joyful, spiritual concerts alongside New Season Ministry in Huber Heights. Two additional virtual concerts dates will be presented this summer with Omega Baptist Church and Trinity Presbyterian Church.

“For year 16 of the series we had to pivot to something imaginative,” said DPO artistic director and conductor Neal Gittleman. “Over several months, we assembled the pieces needed to create a streamlined presentation that recreates the traditional Stained Glass-in-church experience.”

Following the same programming concept from past seasons, the 2020-2021 Virtual Stained Glass Series Concerts include a traditional classical symphony, music by an African-American or African-descended composer, and a gospel finale.

In particular, the concerts will feature Beethoven’s rhythmic, beautiful Fourth Symphony, a continuation of a celebration by the DPO of the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth. The performance was recorded and presented this past fall as the DPO returned to the Schuster Center’s Mead Theatre stage during COVID-19 to perform together in a safe, socially-distanced manner.

In addition, the concert includes a work by African-American composer Florence Price, the first African-American woman to have her music played by a major symphony orchestra. However, until 10 years ago, her repertoire was largely forgotten until new homeowners of her Chicago resident stumbled upon a trunk filled with her music during a renovation. The DPO will perform Price’s moving “Adoration.”

The June 13 concert program opened with an introduction, invocation and benediction from Kent O. Johnson, pastor of New Season Ministry. The finale included the New Season Ministry choir, under the direction of music director Ray Turner, performing an original song entitled “My Worship” as well as the uplifting “Back Where I Belong,” arranged by Gittleman and accompanied by music from the DPO. The powerful Felita LaRock is the featured soloist. “Back Where I Belong” is notably written by Dr. Schneata Shyne-Turner and Ray Turner.

This virtual performance can be viewed by visiting www.vimeo.com/559182176. It will be available for viewing until Sunday, June 27.

“The cool thing about the streamed version is that each church will have its own custom version, with an introduction, invocation and benediction by the church’s pastor, and, if possible, a videoed performance by the church’s choir and musicians without the orchestra,” said Gittleman. “And we can make custom versions available to more churches than we could typically serve with live performances, including smaller churches where the orchestra wouldn’t fit. So, I hope we’ll be able to release several more versions of the stream throughout the summer.”

If your church is interested in participating in the Stained Glass Concert Series, e-mail Gittleman at NGittleman@DaytonPerformingArts.org.

Contact this contributing writer at rflorence2@gmail.com.

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