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VOL. 117 | NO. 175 | Tuesday, September 30, 2003

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Mid-week concert favorites return to Calvary

Midweek Concerts Return to Calvary

Free Downtown series runs through Dec. 10


The Daily News

For the past 12 years, Sherwood Pate has enjoyed the Calvary and the Arts concert series at Calvary Episcopal Church from a seat in one of the pews.

Now he is on the other side of the aisle, so to speak, as the Downtown churchs concert manager.

As a church member, Im proud of these concerts and that its a way to give back to the community, he said.

In its 19th year, the musical event featuring free Wednesday afternoon concerts begins tomorrow and continues each week except Thanksgiving week through Dec. 10, when members of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra offer a Christmas Pops performance.

The performances start at 12:05 p.m. in the 171-year-old churchs sanctuary at 102 N. Second St. The shows are immediately followed by a $6 plate lunch in the churchs basement cafeteria, which features a menu that changes weekly and includes seafood Newburg, Salisbury steak and Rendezvous-catered barbecue, among other meals.

Old and new. In accordance with tradition, the series coordinators have recruited a variety of first-time local artists and ensured that a number of popular performers will return.

Performing again this year will be jazz favorites Joyce Cobb (Nov. 5) and Kirk Whalum (Oct. 29), and the Navy Band Mid-South (Nov. 19).

New artists include opera singer Kallen Esperian (Nov. 12), The Doctors Band (Oct. 15), the Memphis Vocal Arts Ensemble (Oct. 1) and Richard Graham & Friends (Oct. 22).

Pate said the church likes the idea of getting concertgoers acclimated to alternative music and highlighting the importance of music as a form of expression.

Were not here to convert anyone, but we do want to introduce them to the spirituality of music we share in worship, Pate said.

Learning the notes. Last year, the band Global Warming played an array of songs with an emphasis on international music styles. This year, one of that bands members, Graham a musicologist will enlighten the audience again, first by playing unique instruments, then by answering audience members questions.

It will be both educational and extraordinarily entertaining, Pate said.

Also noteworthy will be Stax artists The Temprees, whose members are described as the backbone of Stax Records. The Temprees are scheduled for an Oct. 8 performance of sweet sounding songs that helped define Memphis contribution to soul music.

The band rarely plays in Memphis and stays on the road with away dates, Pate said.

We feel like, in a way, were getting them introduced to Memphis, he said.

A larger audience. No matter the types of concerts Calvary staff lines up, Pate is confident people will crowd the churchs sanctuary with enthusiasm.

We wish that all of the city would be able to come Downtown to enjoy the concerts, but the reality is that they are designed to attract those working or living Downtown, he said.

However, though the concerts initially were attended primarily by Downtown attorneys and their staffs, the event has grown steadily and now attracts visitors from all parts of the city including the suburbs thanks to promotional efforts, Pate said.

As Downtown has grown, we have so many more new residents, he said. So due to that, were seeing our audience grow.

The concerts are planned in a streamlined fashion to allow visitors to attend the shows, enjoy lunch and return to work within a reasonable time frame.

Gradual growth. Calvarys organist and choirmaster, Thomas Pavlechko, said the concert series began informally and on a small scale, and was boosted to a professional level with help from former Memphian Paul Tudor Jones II son of John Paul Jones, former owner and publisher of The Daily News after Jones traveled to New York City and attended a similar concert series at Trinity Church on Wall Street.

The Daily News is a major sponsor of the concert series each year.

The concerts are a form of evangelism and outreach in that we offer these free concerts for Downtown folks, Pavlechko said. We bring (attendees) in and invite them to find out about other church activities.

Pavlechko said his staff has informed him that this years concerts will be the biggest ever.

Id say, You dont want to miss them, he said.

More than good will. Thanks to sponsors, the concert series does not just offer a platform for local artists to gain valuable exposure; the artists also are paid for their work, Pate said.

As a musician myself, its neat to see that the church allows musicians to make money, he said. We want our local musicians to receive compensation the concerts are more than just good will shows.


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