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posted: 12/8/2013 5:55 PM

Steeple Walk highlights music, history of Geneva churches

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  • Visitors enter the oldest church in Geneva, the Unitarian Universalist Society, Sunday during the city's annual Steeple Walk. The Geneva Cultural Arts Commission sponsors the event, in which participants visit four city churches and enjoy musical performances at each.

       Visitors enter the oldest church in Geneva, the Unitarian Universalist Society, Sunday during the city's annual Steeple Walk. The Geneva Cultural Arts Commission sponsors the event, in which participants visit four city churches and enjoy musical performances at each.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • The pews in the oldest church in Geneva, the Unitarian Universalist Society of Geneva, were salvaged from a church that burned in the 1871 Chicago fire. The building was originally built in 1843. Visitors listened to a performance of Renaissance and Baroque music by EnsAmble Ad-Hoc on Sunday during the city's Steeple Walk.

       The pews in the oldest church in Geneva, the Unitarian Universalist Society of Geneva, were salvaged from a church that burned in the 1871 Chicago fire. The building was originally built in 1843. Visitors listened to a performance of Renaissance and Baroque music by EnsAmble Ad-Hoc on Sunday during the city's Steeple Walk.
    John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 

The old wooden doors creaked and the floor sloped in the oldest, and perhaps quaintest, church in Geneva Sunday as visitors took The Steeple Walk, one of Geneva's holiday traditions.

Participants in the annual Steeple Walk visit four churches during the event, enjoying a roughly 20-minute musical performance at each.

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At the Unitarian Universalist Society of Geneva church, built in 1843 at the corner of Second and James streets, an 80-member audience filled every space in the pews, which were salvaged from a church that burned in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, to listen to Ruth Cavanaugh's three-musician EnsAmble Ad Hoc group specializing in Renaissance and Baroque music.

Volunteer tour guide Chuck Brown, a Geneva alderman, led his group through the snow to each church.

"We came to the first walk (in 2004) and somebody said 'You should be a tour guide,'" said Brown, who's lived in the city for 40 years. "So this is a way for us to give back to the community."

Other artists performing Sunday included:

• Scott Stevenson, a composer and keyboard musician, who has performed nationwide and has had his work commissioned by the Chicago Metropolis Orchestra, at the United Methodist Church. • The Blue Notes, a high school jazz ensemble from Wheaton singing classical renditions from the 1950s, at Geneva Lutheran Church.

• Harpist Laura Fako Utley and Michelle Apps on the flute, at First Church of Christ.

The annual Steeple Walk was first organized by the Geneva Forum for Arts and Education. The group later dissolved and the Cultural Arts Commission revived the walk in 2009.

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