Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

October 17, 2013

Choral debut for Christ Church's 2013-14 music series


The Andover Townsman

---- — A Service of Choral Evensong will provide the opening note for the 2013-14 Music at Christ Church Andover concert series on Sunday, Oct. 20, at the 33 Central St. church.

Andover’s Christ Church Choir will be joined by the choir of Christ Church of Hamilton & Wenham for the 5 p.m. concert. The program will feature the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis in G by Charles Villiers Stanford, among other works.

Guest conductor John Russell directs the choir members, accompanied by Barbara Bruns on the recently installed C. B. Fisk organ, opus 137.

Russell will provide a lead-in to the choral concert with an organ recital at 4:30 p.m. A reception for the artists and audience will follow in the Parish Hall. A free-will offering will be taken.

The current organist–choirmaster at Christ Church of Hamilton & Wenham, Russell studied organ and conducting at Oberlin College in Ohio and toured with that choir under Robert Fountain. He completed graduate studies at Boston University, where he held a fellowship in choral conducting.

From 1974 through 2008, Russell taught organ and music theory at the College of Wooster in Ohio. He also served for 25 years as director of music at First Presbyterian Church in Wooster, joining the Wooster Chorus on concert tours across the U.S. over his quarter-century tenure there. He has also concertized widely as an organ soloist and served as a competition adjudicator for the American Guild of Organists.

Bruns is the minister of music at Christ Church Andover. She studied organ at Augustana College in Illinois, where she earned her undergraduate degree magna cum laude, and received her graduate degree with honors in organ from New England Conservatory, Boston.

In addition to serving churches in Gloucester, Marblehead, Westborough and New York City, Bruns has been organ instructor in the Preparatory School and Continuing Education Division of New England Conservatory. She also is associate conductor of The Boston Cecilia and organist with the James Thompson Brass Ensemble, with which she has made several recordings. She has performed extensively across the U.S., Europe and Japan.

The second event in the Music at Christ Church concert series on Saturday, Nov. 23, will celebrate the 100th birthday of British composer Benjamin Britten. The program, which starts at 3 p.m., will feature all of Christ Church Andover’s choirs, soloists, the Young Opera Company of New England and the church’s musicians, including John Skelton, Carolyn Skelton, Carol Doran, Marie Stultz and Bruns either conducting or accompanying on the organ and piano.

An afternoon tea served in the British tradition will follow that concert. Admission is $15 adults, $10 students/seniors.

The series also will present an Advent Service of Lessons and Carols on Sunday, Dec. 15 at 5 p.m. The performance will be preceded by a recital by flutist Dawn Bell and Carolyn Skelton on harpsichord at 4:30. Admission to that program is by free-will offering.