Items by Jim Bishop
Children’s choir releases 11th CD
The splendor of brass, pipe organ and 150 children’s voices combine as the Shenandoah Valley Children’s Choir (SVCC) of Harrisonburg, Va., heralds its 16th season with the release of its 11th recording, “Christmas Joy.”
This is the second collaborative effort that includes members of the Washington Symphonic Brass, the acclaimed SVCC, and well-known Valley organist John W. Fast. Selections from the 2006 Christmas concerts include combined performances by the ensembles, brass arrangements and selections by the Preparatory, Treble and Concert Choirs.
Six members from the Washington Symphonic Brass of Washington, D.C., led by Phil Snedecor, lead trumpet and arranger for the professional group, joined the SVCC for the choir’s 2006 Christmas Concerts held at Eastern Mennonite University’s Lehman Auditorium on Dec. 2-3, 2006.
Brass-only selections include jazz arrangements of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “Christmas Time Is Here,” “Little Drummer Boy” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” Other classic arrangements include “Sussex Carol,” “Carol of the Bells” and “Sleigh Ride.”
Choir-alone selections include “Rise Up Shepherd and Follow,” “Twas in the Moon of Wintertime,” “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” “I Wonder as I Wonder,” “The Dark Softly Falling” and “Dormi, Dormi.” Combined children’s choir and brass selections include “The Carol of the Dance” and Ding Dong Merrily on High,” “The Heavens Declare,” “Deck the Halls” and “Wassail, Wassail!” The Preparatory Choir, Joy Anderson, director, and Treble Choirs are featured on solo songs.
Soloists include Jack Burden (12), Emily Anderson (15), Sarah Wingard (17), and Grace Lyman Barner (8) of Harrisonburg; Emily Masincup of Churchville (15), Ben Elliott (8) of Fishersville and Elizabeth Martin (15) of McGaheysville.
The “Christmas Joy” CDs are available in Harrisonburg at the EMU Bookstore, Barnes and Nobles, Parkview Pharmacy, the Wild Bird Center, VMRC Main Street Store, Williamson Hughes Pharmacy and Home Health, Ben’s Music and Rocktown Gift Shoppe. Dayton locations include Silver Lake Mill, Crafty Hands and Ten Thousand Villages. In Bridgewater, CDs may be found at ‘Tis the Season and Ruth’s Books and at The Bookstack in Staunton. Other locations include The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester, Stone Soup Books in Waynesboro and the Woodstock Café and Shoppe in Woodstock.
For more information about the SVCC, go to www.emu.edu/svcc.
Renowned environmental authority to speak at EMU
David Orr, a renowned authority on sustainability issues, will speak twice at Eastern Mennonite University on Friday.
He will speak at 10 a.m. in Lehman Auditorium as part of EMU’s year-long emphasis on creation care. “The changing climate of U.S. politics,” is the title of Orr’s 4 p.m. address in the Suter Science Center Auditorium.
Dr, Orr is the Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics at Oberlin (Ohio) College. He is best known for his pioneering work on environmental literacy in higher education and recent work in ecological design.
Orr raised funds for and spearheaded the effort to design and build a $7.2 million Environmental Studies Center at Oberlin College. The building was described as “the most remarkable” of a new generation of college buildings by The New York Times, and one of 30 “milestone buildings” of the 20th century by the U.S. Department of Energy. EMU representatives visited the building in September to learn more as they plan their own new science facility.
Orr is the author of five books and co-editor of three others. Ecological Literacy (SUNY, 1992), described as “a true classic” by Garrett Hardin, is widely read and used in hundreds of colleges and universities. Another book, Earth in Mind (1994/2004) is praised by people as diverse as biologist E. O. Wilson and writer, poet and farmer Wendell Berry.
Admission to both presentations is free and open to the public.
EMU expert part of collaborative effort on Civil War pacifism
Two experts in Anabaptist studies have collaborated on the first scholarly examination of pacifism during the Civil War.
Mennonites, Amish and the American Civil War, by James O. Lehman of Harrisonburg and Steven M. Nolt of Goshen, Ind., describes the various strategies used by the sectarian religious groups in responding to the North-South conflict and the effects of war on these communities.
Lehman is librarian emeritus at Eastern Mennonite University, archivist for Virginia Mennonite Conference and the author of nine congregational histories and a book on 20th century Mennonite revivalism. Nolt is professor of history at Goshen (Ind.) College and coauthor of two books on Amish faith and life, both published by Johns Hopkins University Press.
Integrating the most recent Civil War scholarship with little-known primary sources and new information from Pennsylvania and Virginia to Illinois and Iowa, Lehman and Nolt provide a definitive account of the Anabaptist experience during the bloodiest war in American history with 620,000 dead and over a million maimed and wounded.
The authors focus on moral dilemmas Mennonites and Amish faced that that tested the very core of their faith: How to oppose both slavery and the war to end it? How to remain outside the conflict without entering the American mainstream to secure legal conscientious objector status. The book serves as a good reminder that not all churches immersed themselves in super-charged patriotism for either the Confederacy or the Union.
“The book is an easy read, with lots of arresting stories of faith under test,” said Albert N. Keim, professor emeritus of history at EMU. “Its amazingly thorough research makes the book convincing. After reading it, I was convinced I had just acquired an accurate understanding of my forbears response to the Civil War,” he added.
The 376-page hardback book, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, is available for $39.95 at leading bookstores and at www.amazon.com.