The 12th annual Sounds of Starkenburg Christmas concerts at St. Martin’s Church Museum at Starkenburg will once again ring in the holiday season on Saturday, Nov. 25, at 1, 3:30 and 7 p.m., when organist Barry Bierwirth, Hermann’s St. Paul UCC Handbell Choir, vocalists Carrie Tilly and Kampbell Hemeyer and cellist Keely Uthlaut reunite to play the music of Advent and Christmas.
Bierwirth is well known for his performances on the church’s 150-plus-year-old Pfeffer pipe organ. A Hermann native, Bierwirth started playing this historic organ as a youngster and knows better than anyone how to bring out the best in the instrument.
He will play solo pieces including “Ding! Dong! Merrily on High,” “Stille,” “Stille,” “Stille,” and “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers.” He also will play the carols for the popular sing-alongs.
Tilly’s mezzo-soprano voice has been a highlight of the concerts. Her solo selections for this year include “Ave Maria,” “Cantique de Noel,” and “Mozart’s Fa-La-La.” She will be accompanied by Bierwirth, Uthlaut and the handbell choir on several of her numbers.
Among its selections, the 12-member handbell choir, conducted by Jim Oncken, will play “Carol of the Bells” and “Once in Royal David’s City.”
Handbell choir members are Ben Berkemeyer, Nancy Fagerness, Donna Hebb, Ruth Hulsey, Nancy Kirchhofer, Mary Kunstmann, Yona Leimkuehler, Elaine Lalk, Marilyn Loehnig, Dawn Maune, Bonnie Oncken and Colter Scheible.
Uthlaut is a favorite at the Starkenburg concerts. She not only will perform a cello solo number, “Angel Medley,” but also will accompany Tilly and the handbell choir on several pieces.
Returning to Starkenburg for her fifth season, Hemeyer will perform “When a Child is Born.” She sang this piece several years ago and now it is back by popular demand.
Between concerts, from 2 to 6:30 p.m., a soup supper will be served at Valentine Hall featuring a variety of homemade soups and desserts. A Country Store will be open for early holiday shopping.
The acoustics and setting of St. Martin’s Church provide a venue that will put everyone in the holiday spirit. The concerts are free and open to the public. A free-will donation will be collected to benefit the St. Martin’s Church Museum and the St. Paul UCC Handbell Choir. Doors open one hour prior to each concert. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.
St. Martin’s Church Museum and Valentine Hall are located at 197 Highway P near Rhineland. Rhineland is about four miles west of the intersection of Highways. 19 and 94. From Rhineland, drive on Highway 94 one mile west to Highway P. Then travel two miles north on P to Starkenburg. The church museum and hall are handicap accessible.
For additional information, contact Brenda Van Booven at 573-236-4810 or Ruth Hulsey at 573-252-4653.