To observe Holy Week, the choir of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church Hayesville will perform the cantata “Once Upon a Tree,” at 6 pm Sunday, April 13, in the church sanctuary. A reception will follow. Holy Week services are scheduled throughout the week before Easter Sunday.
Everyone from the community is invited to attend this special event and the reception afterwards. A free will offering will be taken to benefit HAVEN, the child abuse advocacy center that serves children in Cherokee, Clay, and Graham counties.
According to Good Shepherd choir director Keith Christensen, a cantata is a combination of music and narrative. The words and music of “Once Upon a Tree,” written by the Raleigh composer Pepper Choplin for his own church, Greystone Baptist, are intended to immerse the audience in the passion and intensity of the major events of Holy Week. The narrator, Elmer Wilson, plays the role of Luke as he writes his personal interpretation of Jesus's last days on earth.
The choir performed “Once Upon a Tree” for the first time last year, to great acclaim, but performing this ambitious piece again still requires a good deal of practice. Solos will be performed by Rachel Baughn, Andy Dickert, Karen Campbell, Suzy Christensen, and Keith Christensen. Carol Smucker will accompany on the piano.
Soprano Karen Campbell describes the cantata this way: “This cantata conveys to me the drama and cruelty of Jesus' arrest, trial, and crucifixion. The audience will find this story very approachable because the music is beautifully melodious and the narrative is done in modern day language.” Alto Rachel Baughn, says, “The cantata is moving without being maudlin. Though set 2000 years ago, it offers insight and hope into the human condition of today.”
The church also welcomes the community to Holy Week and Easter services, as follows: April 13 Palm Sunday, 8:00 and 10:45 am; Holy Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday Morning Prayer 9 am; Maundy Thursday Footwashing and Holy Eucharist 7 pm, and Overnight Vigil beginning at 8:30; Good Friday Stations of the Cross 7 am, Holy Communion Noon and 7 pm; Holy Saturday the Great Vigil of Easter Service 7 pm; April 20 Easter Sunday 8 and 10:45 am.