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St. Thomas concert

Thorngren, Hughes and Barton kick off St. Thomas Organ Fund Drive

Arts for the Community at Thomas University presents internationally renowned soprano Jane Thorngren who will join Raymond Hughes and Dr. Karl Barton with chamber orchestra at a Gala Concert on Sunday, Oct. 13, at 4 p.m. in the sanctuary of St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church in Thomasville. The event is part of the Arts for the Community at Thomas University (ACTU) Sundays at Four series.

This concert will benefit the restoration and renovation of one of the region’s oldest, most historic pipe organs. The Pilcher organ at St. Thomas has been an integral part of Thomasville’s cultural scene for more than 85 years. It is presently described as “a very sick old lady on life support” and needs community help to restore it to its rightful glorious state.

The Rev. Judith Jones-Keith, Rector, has appointed former Metropolitan Opera Chorus Master and present Artistic Director of Thomasville Music and Drama Troupe Raymond Hughes to oversee the organ renovation project in collaboration with Schlueter Organ Builders of Atlanta.

The Oct. 13 concert includes Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5, with Hughes at the harpsichord; John Rutter’s Suite Antique, which will feature Dr. Barton on the flute along with harpsichord and strings; and Bach’s pyrotechnically virtuosic Cantata #51 for solo soprano, trumpet, and strings, featuring Thorngren and trumpeter Christopher Moore.

Thorngren’s career has included engagements for opera and concerts on four continents.  She was featured twice on “Live from Lincoln Center” television broadcasts and has performed at both New York City Opera and the Metropolitan Opera.  She collaborated with Raymond Hughes, William Fred Scott and Norman Dunfee at the January 2006 Lawson Neel Medbank Benefit Concert at the Center for the Arts.

Dr. Barton earned his doctorate in flute performance at Florida State University, joined the faculty at Thomas University in 1996 and regularly appears in community concerts as a flutist and director of the TU Jazz Ensemble. He has performed at the National Flute Convention and will be a featured soloist for the 2014 Florida Flute Convention in Orlando.

Hughes, the son of the late and beloved Thomasville musicians Doris and Osco Hughes, worked as opera and choral conductor in Germany, South Africa and Italy before his appointment to the Met in 1991.  In the immediate past, he was on the staff of the Norwegian National Opera in Oslo for two years before he succeeded Fred Allen with the Music and Drama Troupe.

St. Thomas’ Church has contributed to Thomasville’s prestigious musical heritage for many years.  For more than 40 years, Deborah McRae Balfour was the inspired and enthusiastic leader of the Church’s music ministry.  More recently, Music Directors at St. Thomas have included Dr. William Denison, who was Head of the Organ Department at Troy State University in Alabama, the late Steve Eckels, and the late Dr. Paul Liljestrand, who was Music Director at Calvary Baptist Church in Manhattan for many years before coming to Thomasville and starting the Sunday at Four music series at St. Thomas.

The concert is a ticketed event open to the public at a cost of $30 for general admission adults and free for children and students. A reception will follow the performance. Tickets will be on sale at Jerger Jewlers on Broad Street in downtown Thomasville (Oct. 7-12) and will also be available at Beethoven and Company at Market Square in Tallahassee, as well as at the door. For additional information, visit www.thomasu.edu/actu, call (229) 227-6964 or e-mail actu@thomasu.edu.

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