2nd annual Peace Concert in Clinton on Sunday, October 30th


Gratitude, source of peace, is the theme for this year’s ecumenical Peace Concert at Zion Lutheran Church, 439-3rd Ave. So., Clinton, on Sunday afternoon, October 30, beginning at 3 pm.

“As we approach the Thanksgiving season, we pause to give thanks for all that is and we receive peace in return,” said Clinton Franciscan Sister Mary Smith, co-chair of the annual concert  sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis and Zion Lutheran Church. The concert is free and open to the public.

Ruth Blom, Associate in Ministry for Word and Service at Zion and co-chair of the Peace Concert, announced that six area congregations will be participating in this year’s concert which will feature voice and bell choirs from three different churches.

Participating choirs include Zion Lutheran, St. Paul Lutheran and Faith Lutheran of Andover in addition to singers from Prince of Peace Catholic, Unity Center and the Sisters of St. Francis, Clinton.

A special feature of the 2nd annual concert will be a solo organ performance by David Gaulrapp, organist at First United Presbyterian church, Clinton, and retired Coordinator of Instrumental and Vocal Music for the Clinton, Iowa Public Schools and Director of Bands for Clinton Senior High School.  He has also played organ recitals in Innsbruck and Vienna, Austria as well as in many area churches.

The massed choir will be directed by Dr. Michael Zemek, Assistant Professor of choral music education at Augustana College, Rock Island, Ill., where he conducts the Jenny Lind Vocal Ensemble and Ascension Singers, teaches music methods and conducting courses, supervises music education students, and advises the collegiate MENC and ACDA chapters. He came to Augustana after eight years of teaching choral music in Minnesota and Iowa. In addition to his responsibilities at Augustana, Dr. Zemek conducts the high school Youth Choir at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Davenport, Iowa.

Dr. Zemek received the Doctor of Education degree in Music Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Vocal, Instrumental, and Classroom Music Education, summa cum laude, from Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minnesota, and a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minnesota.

The massed choir will be featured singing “Jubilate Deo,” “Peace I Give to You” and “The Lord is Beautiful.”  The concert will also involve the audience in singing “This Is My Song,” “Come, All You People” and “Beautiful Savior.”

Promoting peace through music is not new. Song has been part of the history of change in human society from earliest time.

“Music has been part of the everyday life and struggle of people worldwide,” said Janice Cebula OSF, president of the Clinton Franciscans. “It is a form of power that knows no boundaries. It has motivated individuals and nations to work together for change, freedom, equality. Music and song are often the first signs of growing community support in response to repression. And it is nonviolent.”

“The unity generated by our community concert is a prime reason for our effort in presenting the annual concert,” said Rev. Jennifer Henry, pastor of Zion Lutheran.

The sponsors chose October 30th for the concert because it is falls just after the international celebration of the “Spirit of Assisi” and at the beginning of the national celebration of Thanksgiving.

The “Spirit of Assisi” was the expression coined by the late Pope John Paul II to describe the October 27, 1986, gathering of leaders of all the world’s religions in Assisi, Italy, home of St. Francis and St. Clare, which he convened.  According to observers, it served to unify those diverse leaders, calling all to community: a hallmark of the teaching of the 13th century Saint Francis known also for his love of music.

“Francis was not only a preacher, he was a poet,” noted Cebula. “He wrote not only prayers that were poems, some of the first to be written in the vernacular Italian, but he composed melodies to go with them. “One of his most famous compositions is ‘The Canticle of Creation.’  He recognized the power of music, poetry and drama to teach and inspire and his message was always peace. He is referred to as ‘The Troubadour of God.’”

“The goal of the concert is to inspire, connect, and promote peace in the world through gratitude and music,” explained Ruth Blom.  “Together we can make a difference! We are delighted that so many choirs and individual singers are planning to take part in this celebration of peace through music.”

Besides Blom, Pastor Henry and Sister Smith, the event planning committee includes Clinton Franciscan Sisters Marilyn Shea and Hilary Mullany and Sallyann McCarthy and Laura Anderson, co-coordinators of the Clinton Franciscan Center for Active Nonviolence and Peacemaking.

For details, call Sisters of St. Francis, 563-242-7611 or visit www.clintonfranciscans.com.    ###