Wonderful music, Lenten reflection, and interfaith fellowship are all hallmarks of the Phyllis A. Lange-Connelly Memorial Lenten Recital series. Eleven area churches sponsor these recitals. Everyone is invited to listen, reflect, and enjoy music presented by outstanding musicians. This is the nineteenth year for the series which has been attended by over 1500 people annually. All the concerts are followed by a time of fellowship and a chance to meet the musicians. Admission is free -- donations are accepted to help defray costs.
Organist Michael Waal received a degree in music and organ from the University of Northern Michigan and has been a church musician in the Fox Valley area from many years. He has served churches in Elgin, Barrington, and Elmhurst. Currently he serves as organist/pianist at Shepherd of the Prairie Lutheran Church in Huntley. He is also teaches private piano. Michael has been active as a recitalist and hymn festival leader in the area for many years. Michael shared the very first Lenten Recital with Phyllis Lange-Connelly 19 years ago, playing at the First Methodist Church in Dundee where their piano/organ duets became an instant hit.
The recital this Sunday at the First Presbyterian Church in Elgin will also feature the "Spirit Ringers", the high school handbell choir from Shepherd of the Prairie Lutheran Church. The Spirit Ringers are comprised of 13 students from Huntley, Crystal Lake South, and Jacobs high schools. Under the direction of Music and Worship director Jane McMullen, the group has been playing together practicing weekly and playing several times a year during worship services at Shepherd of the Prairie. In July 2012, the group attended the Handbell Musicians of America's National Seminar in Cincinnati, Ohio where they took part in the Distinctly Teen portion and participated in an ensemble of more than 300 handbell musicians ringing the national anthem for a Cincinnati Reds game at the Great American Ballpark. Amazing people as well as gifted musicians, many of these students are active in additional music programs, including choirs, bands, and private music instruction. Members of Spirit Ringers are: Kurtis Arndt, Grace Boster, Zoe Dowell, Kira Frendreis, Bailey Greene, Tyler Greene, Amanda Juergensen, Chad Juergensen, Zach Ott, Alix Rhode, Casey Rhode, Devin Turk, and Becca Zayas.