St. Paul’s Episcopal Church is preparing for its annual Rose Sunday concert.
Rose Sunday is the fourth Sunday during Lent and considered the halfway point of the season. The day is a way to lighten up the Lenten season with the color rose instead of purple, said Keith Shafer, the director of music and organist at St. Paul’s Church.
“Some churches today still celebrate it and the priests in those churches will wear rose-colored vestments, which has nothing to do with the flower rose,” Shafer said. “People hear it and think (about roses), but it has nothing to do with roses, it’s about a color. They would wear it to symbolize, instead of the purple of Lent, the rose was a lightning of the Lenten experience.”
To celebrate, St. Paul’s is hosting its 31st annual concert, where Shafer will perform four pieces on the organ.
“I am playing the music of Guilmant, a French composer, he’s written a piece on a theme of Handel out of Handel’s ‘Messiah,’ a thrilling piece of music,” Shafer said. “I’m playing a Bach trio, a piece that is written for two hands and two feet in three parts. I am playing a pastorale by Caser Franck and I’m ending with a new piece by Visser and it’s a canonic variations on slane, which is the name of a very famous Irish hymn tune, which if you heard it you would instantly recognize. What’s special about this is he’s taken the melody and he’s written a series of variations on that melody, but he’s kept the melody. When it starts, he answers it at a distance behind through another voice and he does this throughout the entire piece. It’s about a 20-minute piece of music and it’s a thrilling ending and it’s beautiful sections to it. I would guess it’s an Augusta premiere; I don’t know anybody that’s played it here in town. That’s my ending Sunday afternoon.”
These pieces were also chosen for a certain reason. Shafer said he picked them because he was trying not to repeat pieces he’s played in the last few years. So two of them are repeated and two are new. All, however, will highlight the pride of St. Paul’s.
“The organ is the king of instruments. It’s a phenomenal experience to hear and see it in this magnificent place (St. Paul’s),” Shafer said. “It has wonderful acoustics for organ music, too, lots of reverberation echoed to it. So, because I’m an aficionado of the organ, I would say come because you’re going to hear so really wonderful organ music.”
This Rose Sunday is also special because it is being done in honor of Everett Summerall, the former music director of the church, Shafer said. A reception will follow the concert.
The Rose Sunday Concert
St. Paul’s Church
Sunday, March 30
Free and open to the public; childcare provided