Draper Philharmonic and Choral Society reprises original musical experience ‘King of Kings’Dec 06, 2021 02:21PM ● By Katherine Weinstein
The Draper Philharmonic and Choral Society, directed by Sherri Jensen, last performed “King of Kings” in 2019. (Photo courtesy Sherri Jensen/Draper Philharmonic and Choral Society)
By Katherine Weinstein | [email protected]
In 2019, Draper Philharmonic and Choral Society premiered a new Christmas musical experience, “King of Kings.” Written by two young Draper composers, Tyler Teerlink and Jake Lives, the piece tells the full story of the Christ child’s birth through contemporary music. In the wake of last year’s canceled performance due to the pandemic, Draper Philharmonic and Choral Society is pleased to be presenting “King of Kings” on Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. at the Alta High School Concert Hall in Sandy and on Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. at Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City.
“We commissioned this work,” explained artistic director and conductor Sherri Jensen. “Our goal is that one day people all over the world will perform it. Our goal is to get it out to the world.”
The aspect of “King of Kings” that sets it apart from classical sacred works, apart from the style of music, is the story that it tells. Jensen spoke of how the piece tells “the full story of the Christ child’s birth.”
“We wanted to share the humanity of it,” she added.
For example, “King of Kings” imagines Mary’s reaction to being told by the angel that she will bear the Son of God as well as Joseph’s great inner conflict when he learns that his betrothed is with child. When the angel comes to Joseph in a dream to explain that the child is the Son of God, Joseph is relieved and asks Mary’s forgiveness.
“There is a whole back story that we don’t think about,” Jensen said. “King of Kings” brings the Biblical story in all of its intensity to life through music.
“There are songs about the birth of the Savior, but this shows the miracles that preceded His birth,” said Jannalee Hunsaker, a soprano in the Choral Society. “It’s magical how it all comes together and tells this epic story.”
Trombonist Dave Clark commented that “King of Kings” presents “an opportunity to think differently about the reason for the season.” Clark, who has been playing with Draper Philharmonic since 2017, explained that a good part of the reason he enjoys it so much is because of the focus on Christ-centered music and patriotic songs. “We play a lot of good music,” he said. “It’s fun, uplifting and inspirational.”
“Our group is very dedicated to God,” Jensen said. “This is our gift to the community.” No tickets will be sold for the Sunday performance at Abravanel Hall. Seating will be first come, first served. “We’re inviting people who don’t get to go [to concerts], people who might not go out otherwise, but would like to,” she added.
Both performances of “King of Kings” will be preceded by a 30-minute program of holiday songs performed with a bell choir, the Bells of Joyful Sound. The Saturday program will include favorites such as “Ring Those Christmas Bells,” “Sleigh Ride” and “We Need a Little Christmas.” The program on Sunday will be more spiritual and will include songs such as “Mary, Did You Know?,” “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” and “The Little Drummer Boy.”
Mary Moffett, the director of Bells of Joyful Sound, is looking forward to the performances. “To put all those sounds together—bells, vocals, orchestra—we’re really excited,” she said.
Bells of Joyful Sound is an adult community hand bell choir that was founded in 1997 and has members from all across the Wasatch Front. They performed with Draper Philharmonic and Choral Society for the first time in 2018. “We had such a wonderful time playing with them,” Moffett said. “Their quality is top-notch.”
Moffett described this month’s evening of music as “a Christmas concert that will give you the real reason for the season as well as the joy that comes with Christmas music. It’s a beautiful way to feel the meaning of Christmas.”
For tickets and more information, visit draperphilharmonic.org.
The Bells of Joyful Sound will also perform their own separate Holly Jolly Christmas Concert Dec. 20 at the Midvalley Performing Arts Center in Taylorsville. Visit bellsofjoyfulsound.org for more information.