Interfaith Music Festival beings faiths together
The choir from the St. Thomas More Catholic Church start off the Interfaith Music Festival. (Keyra Kristoffersen/City Journals)
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The sounds of faith could be heard coming from the St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Cottonwood Heights on Sunday, April 30, and not just from members of the congregation. The Sandy Arts Guild held their annual Interfaith Music Festival, inviting faith choirs from all over the Salt Lake Valley to perform their sacred music.
“Coming together with other faiths, singing, to get to sing our songs, but also to see the different flavor of other churches and other faiths come out,” said Jana Emmer, director of the Draper Single Adults Ward LDS Choir, which was formed in August of 2016. “It was just an honor to participate. We loved being here. It was really a lovely experience, and then it’s just fun to come together at the end and sing a really inspiring song with so many choirs and just a resounding, powerful ending. It was just a great way to end the night.
The Interfaith Music Festival began in 1995, with various local choirs coming together to share their favorite songs of religious worship. This year featured the music from the St. Thomas More Catholic Church Choir, the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church Choir, the Draper Singles Ward LDS Choir, the St. John the Baptist Catholic Choir, the Hilltop United Methodist Chancel Choir, and a special guest — the Hillcrest High School Vocal Ensemble from the Canyons School District, who invited school alumni in the audience to join in on one song.
“We were all just here to sing together, we all had one common goal,” said Mikayla Forbes, a senior at Hillcrest High School. “I thought it was cool that no one had issues with each other. I think it was a pleasant surprise for everybody that everyone knew the music. We all sounded really good together.”
Members of the groups also took the opportunity to speak to others about local organizations in need of caring, compassionate help.
“We work with Family Promise,” said Ken Baum, guitarist for the Good Shepherd Lutheran Choir. “A bunch of churches got together and house the homeless for a week, and then they go to another church for a week. The whole idea is not just to give them a place to crash but we also, during the day, try and help them get jobs, get them to whatever agencies they need to help get them back on their feet.”
Choir members across the several faiths seemed eager to set aside differences in favor of joy and musically coming together, which included ending as a complete group singing “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” directed by ReNae Dalgleish, the director of choirs and orchestras at Hillcrest High and member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
“The thing about this event,” said Emily Emmer, a member of the Draper LDS Choir, “was that the repertoire, although it was different across the different faiths, it was so similar too. You could see different choirs picking up different sings from the other choirs and it was a really good reminder that we’re all in the same faith journey. We have different ways of expressing it, but we are all searching for truth and comfort and love and from the same source.”
Many who had never attended the Interfaith Music Festival before came away feeling enriched by the experience.
“This is my first time,” said Lisa Baptiste, whose daughter has been performing with Hillcrest for two years. “It was wonderful. I think it’s very good that all the different faiths could get together and worship together and sing together.”
The Hillcrest High School Vocal Ensemble was also there to celebrate being invited to perform at Carnegie Hall, the premier concert venue in New York, in 2018.
“I’m excited for the younger kids because it’s so cool,” said Forbes. “All the hard work that went into it. It’s going to be so much fun.”
The Sandy Arts Guild is gearing up for their 2017 summer concert series at Sandy Amphitheater, as well as the upcoming auditions for their big summer musical, “Beauty and the Beast,” in August. The Sandy Arts Guild will also be holding an Art in the Garden Sego Lily Plein Air Quick Draw event at the Sego Lily Gardens (1472 Sego Lily Dr., Sandy) on Saturday, June 10 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
More information about upcoming Sandy Arts Guild Events can be found at http://sandy.utah.gov/departments/community-events/sandy-arts-guild
and at http://sandyamp.com/amphitheater-home.