Ten Moravian Music Festivals! What an achievement for a small denomination! Following the 10th Early American Moravian Music Festival and Seminar, the Festivals could boast of
- some 5 dozen public performances;
- some 50 first modern performances of works by Moravian composers and
- 3 dozen works by non-Moravian composers;
- Festivals held in Bethlehem, Winston-Salem, Ohio, and New York City,
- introducing the rich tradition of Moravian music to thousands of audience members.
The tenth Festival was held on the campus of Salem College June 11-18, 1972. Guest artists included Jane Frazier Rolandi, coloratura soprano; Elizabeth Mannion, alto; Jerry Jennings, tenor; Robert Kirkham, bass-baritone; and George Hamilton IV (1971 International Country Music Singer of the Year). Dr. Thor Johnson was music director.
A Festival first was the concert of handbell music on Saturday, June 17, with six participating handbell choirs from Graceham Moravian Church (Maryland), Moravian Academy (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania), Heckewelder Memorial Moravian Church (Ohio), and Home Moravian Church (Winston-Salem). Each of the individual choirs presented several pieces, and the combined bell choirs performed at the opening and close of the concert.
Other Festival concerts were …
- Festival chorus, orchestra, and soloists, on Thursday, June 15
- George Hamilton IV and The Numbers, followed by an informal recital and discussion of solo song of the early American Moravians, with the Festival soloists and orchestra, on Friday, June 16
- Festival chorus, orchestra, and soloists, on Sunday, June 18
The first memory that comes to mind is from the very first Festival that I attended. That was in the summer of 1972 in Old Salem. I had just graduated from High School and was a bit nervous about being with all those “older Moravians” and also somewhat in awe of Thor Johnson and Ewal Nolte. But a group of women, the “Unionville Altos,” took me under their wing and made me feel right at home. I have stayed in touch with many of them throughout these almost 50 years.– Bishop Sam Gray
The Festival was organized by a large committee, with Dr. Dale H. Gramley as honorary chair, Mr. and Mrs. Allen S. Goslen as general chairs, the Rev. John Giesler and Clemens Sandresky as seminar chairmen, Mrs. Rommie H. Porter, Jr., as executive secretary, and many more volunteers!