(Above) Eric Johnson conducting a rehearsal of the St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church choir

Creston’s St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church choir hosting first concert

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  • Feb. 9, 2016 10:00 a.m.

For anyone who hasn’t heard the St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church choir or the church’s two organs, Sunday’s concert is sure to be a treat, with choral and instrumental music, as well as a few sing-alongs.

“All the groups I conduct have to do concerts,” said conductor Eric Johnson.

The seven singers will be joined by five of their six rotating accompanists — Joanna Wilson, Lorraine Smith, Lorraine Doeleman, Patricia Robinson and Tom Reid (Anita Stushnoff was unavailable for the concert) — as well as Brenda Draper on flute and Poul Christensen on trumpet, in a variety of spiritual music.

“The choir will sing anthems that are favourites of theirs,” said Johnson, who has taken over for his wife and longtime choir director, Lynn. “She purchased a lot of very challenging music. It’s not like we’re just singing hymns. We’re doing music as challenging as any group in town.

“We will also be doing some more folksy things. We’ll be doing, believe it or not, Hank Williams’ ‘I Saw the Light.’ ”

The Williams tune will be one of the sing-along numbers, which will be interspersed throughout the program.

The concert is a fundraiser for maintenance and tuning of the church’s pipe organ, which is about 115 years old. The church recently spent about $800 on it, but more work is required to keep it in working order.

“I think of the organ as the musical equivalent of a steam engine,” said Johnson. “It is basically simple but is a technology several centuries old with some ‘modern’ improvments.”

It was originally placed in the First Presbyterian Church in Nelson around 1900, and moved about 60 years later to the Fairview United Church. When the Baptist Church bought that church in 1998, the pipe organ was headed for the dump before St. Stephen’s saved it.

“Bruce Harny, the accompanist at the time and an organ specialist himself, arranged for the organ to be disassembled and moved to the St. Stephen’s church here in Creston,” said Johnson.

Preserving the instrument is a priority for the church, and Johnson is pleased that the Valentine’s Day concert will offer the audience a chance to hear it, as well as the choir, performing for the first time outside of church services.

“Even though it’s a small group, they sing very well,” Johnson said. “And they’ll enjoy actually strutting their stuff.”

Admission to the 3 p.m. Feb. 14 concert is by donation.

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