For University Christian Church, it was a weekend to celebrate one of the greatest musical composers of all time.
The first-ever UCC Bach-A-Thon was held over two days, featuring many works of Johann Sebastian Bach. Over 30 musical acts gathered from all over the Dallas/Fort Worth area to participate.
The marathon concert was organized to raise money for the Shelton Music Endowment Fund, which helps provide funding for the UCC music program. The marathon ended in a lecture and concert by Dr. Jonathan Moyer, director of music at the Church of the Covenant in Cleveland, Ohio.
“About a year ago, Kyla mentioned that she would like to do a 24-hour Bach-a-thon as a fundraiser for the music scholarships we have here at UCC,” said Randy Jordan, director of the UCC Chancel Choir. “I told her she was out of her mind. However, she was persistent about it, and decided we would pursue this.” Kyla Rosenberger is the music coordinator and senior organist at UCC.
While the event did not clock in at the 24 hours Rosenberger originally had in mind, it was still a large undertaking.
“There was lots of rehearsing, lots of phone calls, emails and scheduling, choirs, flutists, string players, singers and solo pieces of all types,” Rosenberger said.
Mallory Zenthoefer, a TCU student, had initially come to support her aunt, who sings in the UCC Chancel Choir. “I really like Bach and I enjoy his music,” she said. “I’m a musician, myself, so I can relate. My professor’s going to be playing the piano, so I thought that should be cool.”
Altogether, 15 of the 34 participating acts were performed by members of the TCU music department and UCC. The Bach-A-Thon began with an array of Bach pieces, performed by Jordan and the UCC Chancel Choir.
“I prepared them with a couple of pieces and a couple of duets,” Jordan explained. The chancel choir also performed what Jordan described as an “avant-garde” arrangement, or a modern version, of Bach’s Komm, Susser Tod.
Members of the Chancel Choir Eric Heatley and Kat Mangum were featured soloists in the program.
“It’s really the best job I could have at this moment, as well as being spiritually fulfilling,” said Mangum, a sophomore music major at TCU, who performed with the chancel choir. “This is the first time I’ve done a Bach-A-Thon.”
Heatley, a freshman vocal performance major at TCU, enjoyed performing in the Bach-A-Thon as well. “Even as an 18-year-old, I’ve sang a lot of Bach,” he said. “It’s nice to see all of his works put together into one event.”
Bach-A-Thon benefited the Shelton Music Endowment Fund and allowed the church to provide a community service through its commitment to the arts.
“We at UCC want to be able to open our church for concerts of this kind,” Jordan said. “It is opening ourselves to the surrounding area, and presenting great works of art such as Bach.”