An­nual car­il­lon concert rings out in Ridge Val­ley

News-Herald (Perkasie, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Bob Keeler

The crowd gath­ered in lawn chairs out­side St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church on Al­len­town Road in the Ridge Val­ley sec­tion of West Rock­hill weren’t the only ones who got to en­joy the church’s Aug. 11 third an­nual car­il­lon concert.

“It rings out throughout the val­ley. It can be heard a cou­ple miles,” said Mark Gottes­feld, St. John’s mu­sic di­rec­tor.

Some of the peo­ple liv­ing nearby have said they look for­ward to it, Pas­tor Amy Hot­ter said.

“We re­ally look for­ward to it as well,” Hot­ter said.

With the mu­sic in­clud­ing tradition- al hymns, praise songs, Christ­mas mu­sic, clas­si­cal, movie themes and pa­tri­otic mu­sic, the se­lec­tions ran a wide gamut, in­clud­ing “Blessed As­sur­ance,” “Shine, Je­sus, Shine,” “Hark, the Her­ald An­gels Sing!,” the “Star Wars” theme, “Amer­ica, the Beau­ti­ful” and “Bat­tle Hymn of the Repub­lic.”

A May 2009 light­ning strike de­stroyed St. John’s orig­i­nal car­il­lon, which had been there al­most 24 years. The new car­il­lon does not have live bells but uses an elec­tronic sys­tem to re­pro­duce the sound, which is heard from speak­ers in the church tower.

Last year, rain forced the con-

to be moved inside the church, but didn’t can­cel it.

“We opened the win­dows and peo­ple could still hear the mu­sic,” Gottes­feld said.

Along with new equip­ment, the cur­rent sys­tem expands the num­ber of mu­si­cal se­lec­tions avail­able from the 75 that could be played on the old car­il­lon to the new 400.

The new car­il­lon also strikes the hours each day be­tween 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., as well as play­ing at se­lect times.

Many of those at the concert are vis­i­tors to the church, Hot­ter said. This year’s at­ten­dance was the most in the three years it’s been held, she said.

The concert helps in­tro­duce the church’s mu­sic to the vis­i­tors, she said.

“Luther­ans are proud of that. They put a lot of em­pha­sis on mu- sic,” Gottes­feld said. “They feel it is an ex­ten­sion of God’s word.”

Dur­ing the hour-long car­il­lon concert, at­ten­dees were also in­vited to walk through the ceme­tery, which has head­stones dat­ing back to the Civil War.

Hot dogs and ice cream were also avail­able for a free-will do­na­tion.

Fol­low­ing the car­il­lon concert, things moved inside to the sanc­tu­ary where, in honor of the Olympics in Lon­don, Gottes­feld played 16 na­tional an­thems on the church’s pipe or­gan.

An­drew Carnegie paid half of the $1,700 price for the orig­i­nal pipe or­gan, which the con­gre­ga­tion au­tho­rized to be pur­chased in 1904. It has been re­built andL or ren­o­vated in 1949, 1985 and 2007, when dig­i­tal voices were also added.

“I think it’s in­ter­est­ing to lis­ten to the backgrounds,” said Mark Bruder, one of the concert or­ga­niz­ers, who gave in­for­ma­tion about each of the an­thems be­fore Gottes­feld played the song and au­di­ence mem­bers were asked to iden­tify the coun­try rep­re­sented by the an­them.

The au­di­ence rose and sang along with, then ap­plauded WHH fiQDO DQthem, “The Star-Span­gled Ban­ner.”

Got t e s f e l d , who has been mu­sic di­rec­tor at St. John’s for 14 years, started in the role as a sub­sti­tute or­gan- ist while still a nu­ak­er­town High School stu­dent.

“I’m a lawyer on the side, so I do this on the week­end, but my real job is a lawyer,” Gottes­feld said. “I’m glad to be able to do both.”

News-her­ald staff photo — BOB KEELER

Mark Gottes­feld, mu­sic di­rec­tor at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, plays na­tional an­thems on the pipe or­gan in honor of the Olympics.

News-her­ald staff photo — BOB KEELER

At­ten­dees lis­ten to the car­il­lon mu­sic at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church.

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