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Hymns featured in Sterling College Band Concert
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STERLING — Sterling College is known as a Christian college. That will be clear as the Sterling College Symphonic Band presents its winter concert entitled “The Music of the Spheres” at 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 14 in Culbertson Auditorium.

Director Larry Brownlee explains the concert title, saying, “I wanted something related to music and hymns. I thought of the hymn ‘This is My Father’s World’ with the lyric ‘all nature sings and round me rings the music of the spheres.’ It just reminded me that music is everywhere, just as God is everywhere.

“Sterling College is founded on the Christian faith and still holds that as the cornerstone of our institution,” he continued. “We also have a generation of young people who don’t know the hymns of the church. Many church services are focused more on praise and worship songs and hymns are being left out. I wanted to return to that foundation of Christian music.

“I believe music and faith are inseparable. That doesn’t really mean that everyone needs to be a musician to have faith. But music speaks directly to the soul in ways that mere words cannot. Even people who don’t profess to be musicians can’t deny that music has a profound effect on them. And, I truly believe that music lives everywhere in creation.” The 30-member concert band includes Sterling College students as well as community members and select high school musicians. The familiar hymns that will be featured in the concert include “Crown Him With Many Crowns,” “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” and “Lead On O King Eternal.” 

Because most of the songs in the concert are usually sung as part of a worship service, Brownlee wanted to feature vocal music in the concert as well. The Sterling Singers from Sterling High School and the Madrigals from Nickerson High School will be featured in the concert. 

“I didn’t want to completely separate the words from the music,” Brownlee said. “Many people (who) know the words will sing in their head as the band plays, but there are a few songs on the concert I wanted to add the vocal element, both as a means of expressing the text and thus further meaning to the music, but also as another tone color to the music.

“One of the songs, ‘The Speech of Angels,’ the girls just sing an words. But that AH adds a new color to the band,” he said. The male singers will sing “Ave Maria” in the concert.

Together both high school groups will join the band in “Grace,” a band/vocal arrangement of hymn favorite “Amazing Grace.” 

“Singers don’t very often have an opportunity to perform with anything but a piano,” Brownlee said. “Performing with the band will give them a new, and hopefully rewarding, experience.”

Due to COVID restrictions, seating for the concert at Culberston Auditorium will be limited. The concert will be livestreamed online at 3 p.m., March 14. In order to see the concert online, send an email request to Instructions and an online link will then be provided. There is no admission charge for “The Music of the Spheres” concert either in person or online.