First Presbyterian gearing up for second concert in performing arts series

Holly Viers • Mar 10, 2019 at 2:30 PM

KINGSPORT — After a successful opening concert featuring the American Spiritual Ensemble, First Presbyterian Church is hoping to keep the momentum going with the second installment of its new performing arts series.

The next group to take the stage will be the Paramount Chamber Players, presenting a program called “The Beauty of Simplicity.” Mark Davis, director of music ministries at the church and the vocal member of the Paramount Chamber Players, said the goal is to “follow the powerful energy of the American Spiritual Ensemble with the pure beauty of the Paramount Chamber Players.”

“The nature of the American Spiritual Ensemble was this enormous, vibrant energy that was so overwhelmingly exciting,” Davis said. “This will have the same depth of impact, but on a very personal level of being moved with the power of that which is beautiful.”

How to attend

The concert will be held Thursday, March 14, at 7:30 p.m. at the church, located at 100 W. Church Circle. Tickets will be available for purchase at the door on the night of the event. Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and free for students.

What to expect

Select members of the ensemble will be on hand to perform pieces by Beethoven, Francis Poulenc, Camille Saint-Saëns, Vaughan Williams and Peter Hope. Performances will feature the piano, oboe and bassoon.

In addition, Davis will join Craig Combs to perform Beethoven’s “To The Distant Beloved,” which was inspired by German poetry. But rather than singing in German, Davis will sing his own English adaptation, as Combs accompanies on the piano.

“I spent untold scores of hours creating new poetry that tried to mirror exactly the German poetry, in English, so our audience would understand it. So this will be a debut of a new translation,” Davis said. “To make it sing with the same rhyme scheme and the same rhythm and everything else is a great challenge, and I’m going to be talking to the audience a little about that and about Beethoven’s way of putting it together.”

Upcoming performances

The Paramount Chamber Players will return to the church on May 2 at 7:30 p.m. On May 17, award-winning recording artist John McCutcheon will take the stage at 7:30 p.m., and on Sept. 6-8, the Friends of the Groom Theater Company will offer workshops and performances.