Events and Happenings; Music from St. Stephen’s Concerts & Other Events

Painting by the French artist Jeanne
Rongier (1852-1929)

Happy 200th Birthday, César Franck!
Performances of the Complete Major Organ Works
Friday, Nov. 4, 2022
Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022
Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022

Canon Mark Laubach, Organist
St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church
35 S. Franklin Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701
Phone: (570) 825-6653 / Website: www.ststephenswb.org

César-Auguste Franck was born in Liège, Belgium on December 10, 1822 and died in Paris, France on November 8, 1890. In 1836, he and his family moved to Paris, where he spent the rest of his life. As such, he would come to be regarded as one of the truly great nineteenth-century composers in France. While he composed for a wide variety of musical genres, ensembles, and solo instruments, he was most widely known as a virtuoso pianist and organist. He composed well over 100 organ works, but he is primarily regarded among organists for his twelve major organ compositions, the Six Pièces (Six Pieces) composed between 1856 and 1863, the Trois Pièces (Three Pieces) composed in 1878, and the Trois Chorals (Three Chorals), composed in the last months of his life in 1890. Among organists he is widely regarded as perhaps the most important composer of organ music after Johann Sebastian Bach.

In celebration of the 200th anniversary of Franck’s birth, Canon Mark Laubach, Organist and Choirmaster of Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, will perform the complete major organ works in a series of three recitals at Saint Stephen’s in November 2022. Each recital will be between 60 and 70 minutes long with a very brief intermission. Here follows a list of the dates and times of each recital, and the pieces that will be performed in each program.

FRANCK 200 RECITAL I — Friday, November 4 at 7:30 pm
Choral No. 1 in E Major
Prelude, Fugue et Variation, Op. 18 (from Six Pièces)
Cantabile (from Trois Pièces)
Pastorale, Op. 19 (from Six Pièces)
Final, Op. 21 (from Six Pièces)

FRANCK 200 RECITAL II — Sunday, November 13 at 4:00 pm
Fantaisie in A (from Trois Pièces)
Choral No. 2 in B Minor
Grande Pièce Symphonique, Op. 17 (from Six Pièces)

FRANCK 200 RECITAL III — Sunday, November 20 at 4:00 pm
Pièce Héroïque (from Trois Pièces)
Fantaisie in C, Op. 16 (from Six Pièces)
Prière (Prayer), Op. 20 (from Six Pièces)
Choral No. 3 in A Minor

There is no admission charge for attending these recitals, although free-will offerings will be gratefully received in support of Music from Saint Stephen’s and the Outreach Ministries (Food Pantry and Clothes Closets) of Saint Stephen’s Church. Canon Laubach is dedicating these recitals to the glory of God and in loving memory of Dr. Donald Gordon McDonald (February 22, 1925 – August 6, 2022), his organ professor at Westminster Choir College from 1979 to 1982.

For more current events, see our home page.

Saturday, November 12 at 7:30 pm – Saint Tikhon Choir WORLD PREMIERE, Benedict Sheehan Vespers

The Saint Tikhon Choir, led by Music Director Benedict Sheehan, presents one of only three World Premiere performances (others are in New York City and Bethlehem, PA) of Mr. Sheehan’s latest composition, Vespers. For tickets and more information, visit sainttikhonchoir.org/sheehan-vespers-world-premiere-concert-series.

Friday, December 9 at 7:00 pm – Celebrating César Franck with the NEPA Chamber Music Society

On the eve of César Franck’s 200th birthday anniversary, John Michael Vaida and Brian Farrell perform one of the composer’s masterpieces, the Sonata in A Major for violin and piano. They will also perform a work by one of Franck’s best friends, the violin virtuoso Eugène Ysaÿe, and another work by one of his students, Guillaume Lekeu. The concert is free. Donations supporting NEPACMS will be welcome. Visit www.nepacms.org for more information.

Sunday, December 11 at 3:00 pm – Concert by the Wilkes University Choral Ensembles

The Choral Ensembles of Wilkes University will perform under the direction of Matthew Rupcich. Admission is free, and the public is welcome. For more information contact Maryellen Sloat at (570) 408-4420.

Wednesday, December 14 at 6:00 pm – Advent Lessons and Carols

The St. Stephen’s Choir, led by guest conductor Dr. Rick Hoffenberg and Canon Mark Laubach, will sing the much-loved annual Service of Advent Lessons and Carols.

Tuesday, December 20 at 7:30 pm – Wyoming Valley Band Christmas Concert

The Wyoming Valley Concert Band, led by Music Director Donald Williams, will present its popular annual Holiday Concert, with guest organist Canon Mark Laubach.

Saturday, December 24, Christmas Eve

Celebrate 11:00 pm Midnight Mass with us, preceded by the Carol-Sing and Prelude at 10:30 pm. Special music will be presented by the St. Stephen’s Choir with strings and organ, led by Canon Mark Laubach.

2023 Lenten Series of Organ Recitals and Ecumenical Services

Wednesdays in Lent (February 22, March 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, April 5), 11:30 am Organ Recitals will be followed by 12:00 pm Ecumenical Services, featuring guest organists, preachers, and other musical soloists and ensembles.

Sunday, July 23 through Sunday, July 30

The annual King’s College Summer Choir Training Course, sponsored by the Royal School of Church Music in America (RSCMA), returns for a week of choral singing in the Anglican tradition. More details to come.  For more information, visit www.kingscollegecourse.com.

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