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Russian sacred music score slated for U.S. debut by Southwesterners

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–The American premiere of Alexander Gretchaninov’s “Kvalite Boga” (“Praise the Lord”) will highlight the 2003 Church Music Workshop Feb. 17-21 at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

The performance by the Southwestern Seminary Oratorio Chorus and Fort Worth Symphony will be the first performance of the score outside of Russia, and only the second performance of the work since its 1915 debut in Moscow.

It is the only Russian sacred music score written with full orchestra, said C. David Keith, professor of conducting at Southwestern, who will conduct the chorus and orchestra in performing Gretchaninov’s work.

“It is unusual because the Russian Orthodox Church did not allow instruments,” Keith noted.

Nataliya Bolgar of Odessa, Ukraine, a master of arts in Christian education student and a member of the Oratorio Chorus, is proofing Keith’s transliteration of the Russian lyrics.

“I never dreamed I would come to America and sing Russian music,” Bolgar said.

Performances for the premiere will be at 8 p.m. Feb. 20-21 at Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth. Admission is free to all performances, but those who wish to attend can reserve tickets by contacting Katrina Elsea at (817) 923-1921, ext. 3160.

Also featured during the seminary’s music workshop will be Marva Dawn, described by Joseph King, associate dean of church music performance at Southwestern, as “probably one of the most sensitive voices on the theology of worship today.” Dawn is the author of “A Royal Waste of Time: The Splendor of Worshiping God and Being Church for the World” and “Reaching Out Without Dumbing Down: A Theology of Worship for the Turn-of-the-Century Culture.”

Dawn is a teaching fellow at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her books are used in worship classes at Southwestern and at other seminaries.

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  • Lauri Arnold