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Music Sunday

What if you could hear a musical ensemble that has been performing together for decades present its best works? This Sunday, the First Parish of Sudbury choir and music director Debra Morris-Bennett will do just that when they celebrate 25 years of singing together. Morris-Bennett has assembled a “greatest hits” compilation culled from First Parish’s twice-yearly Music Sundays since 1989—a compilation representing nearly 50 performances that have often included some of the region’s finest professional musicians.

Don’t expect a concert of dressed-up hymns. This special service of music will run the gamut of the choral repertoire, from Dvorak to Copeland, from classical to bluegrass.

Selections comprise many of the most memorable choral pieces or movements from 25 years of major cantatas that the choir has performed on prior Music Sundays. There were, literally, hundreds of pieces to choose from, but final choices were the ones that captured the hearts of the choir. “Singing them feels like welcoming back old friends,” said Morris-Bennett. “These pieces truly represent finding meaning through music both in sorrow and joy.”

Some of the choral pieces to be included are “The Road Not Taken” by Randall Thompson, with text by Robert Frost; “The Lord is My Shepherd” from John Rutter’s Requiem; movements from Missa Gaia by Paul Winter and Jim Scott; pieces from The Holocaust Cantata by Donald McCullough; The World Beloved: A Bluegrass Mass by Carol Barnett; and the First Parish choir’s all-time favorite piece, “Sure On This Shining Night,” a stirring setting of a poem by Pulitzer Prize-winner James Agee by composer Morten Lauridsen.

The choir will be joined by Noriko Yasuda on piano, Tim Feil on oboe and Emily Taubl on cello. They will also be performing music of J.S.Bach (Cello Suite No. 1) and Gustave Vogt (Solo de concert No.6 for Oboe).

It is rare to hear such a selection of choral and chamber music in the space of an hour. We hope you can join us.