The Liturgical Arts Festival of Springfield was founded in 1995 by Thom Dennis, a young priest with a desire to share the performing and visual arts with the greater Springfield community. Thom amassed a handful of artists, performers, clergy, laity and community volunteers with similar liturgic interests. The group spent nearly a full year planning the festival, which was held in 1996. It included a visual arts exhibit, the production of an award-winning documentary about Springfield church art and architecture, as well as several educational and performing arts programs hosted in local places of worship. The events were so well attended that the festival went on to become a biennial occurrence.
This year’s festival includes seven events spanning from April 29 to May 7. The opening reception for the annual art exhibition will be held Saturday, April 30, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., at the Springfield Art Association. The juried exhibition features 97 pieces from 61 artists representing 22 of the United States. Twelve of these artists hail from Illinois; six of them are local to Springfield. On display will be traditional paintings, artifacts and sculptures plus contemporary installations, fabric collages, mosaics and felting. The “Best of Show” award will be presented at 5:30 p.m.
A driving force behind faith and worship is music. Its influence is reflected in many of the LAFS events. The 11th annual Liturgical Arts Festival of Springfield begins on Friday, April 29, 7:30 p.m., at Temple B’rith Sholom, with a concert by the Sangamon Valley Civic Orchestra and Ecumenical Choir, conducted by music director Matthew Sheppard.
Other events feature live music and spoken word performances such as the “Lofty Melodies” concert by carillonist Carlo van Ulft on Sunday, May 1, at the Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon; the “Glorious Treble Voices” concert at the First Christian Church on Monday, May 2; the “Power from the Pipes” concert on Tuesday, May 3 at Central Baptist Church, performed by members of the American Guild of Organists and “Inner Peace: The Quest for the Divine in Music and Verse” at St. John’s Lutheran Church on Wednesday, May 4. The “Inner Peace” concert will also include a special exhibition featuring liturgical vestments as expressions of art and the sacred.
A “Bach B-Minor Mass” concert will be performed on Saturday, May 7, 7 p.m., at Central Baptist Church by the 60-person Springfield Choral Society along with a 27-piece orchestra under the direction of Springfield Choral Society conductor Marion van der Loo. Although “Mass in B-Minor” was never performed in it’s entirely during Bach’s lifetime, the piece has been recognized since the 19th century as one of the greatest compositions in musical history. “It’s a dream come true,” says SCS director Marion van der Loo. “It’s been 30 years since the piece was performed in Springfield and it will probably be another 30 years before it appears again. It is very difficult to coordinate, for both singers and musicians.” Tickets to the “Bach B-Minor Mass” concert cost $15, and can be purchased online at http://springfieldchoralsociety.org.
If you are interested in supporting, attending or learning more about the Liturgical Arts Festival of Springfield, visit http://lafspringfield.org.
Contact Nan Bulli at email@example.com.