The Sonny Houston Bluegrass Band will provide bluegrass-Gospel music and preacher-scholar Jason Byassee will speak at Meridian Herald’s 24nd annual Southern Folk Advent Service. The Meridian Chorale will sing and Steven Darsey will direct the music. The event will be held Saturday, Dec. 3 at 4 p.m. at Old Church on the Oxford College. Admission is free.
This years’ service features the majestic singing of Atlanta tenor, Timothy B. Miller, famed for his Atlanta Braves home game appearances. He sings the dramatic folk hymn “The Morning Trumpet” in Steven Darsey’s arrangement, backed by the Meridian Chorale.
Jason Byassee is the Butler Chair in Homiletics and Biblical Interpretation at Vancouver School of Theology. Trained at Davidson and Duke, Dr. Byasee is a prolific biblical scholar, author and a respected theologian and teacher. A United Methodist clergyman, he served pastorates in North Carolina before going to Vancouver. He is a rising figure among preachers, noted for his biblically rooted theology, humor, and compelling rhetoric.
Since its inaugural service in 1993, Southern Folk Advent has become an honored holiday tradition. A form of Lessons and Carols, this service is based on folk hymns from the historic Sacred Harp tunebook, compiled in Georgia in 1844. The tunes are presented in a variety of formats, with the Meridian Chorale singing some in original arrangements and the congregation singing others both a cappella and with folk instrumental accompaniment. These hymns arose from the life experience of poor folk struggling to survive in the early 19th century south. Their haunting music embodies the struggles and dreams of generations singing and praying for the coming of Christ. Noted composer and music director Steven Darsey will lead the music. His Georgia heritage and research on The Sacred Harp have engendered a deep love for this music and the people from whom it sprang.
Built in 1841, Old Church springs from the same era and region as The Sacred Harp itself. Old Church is near Oxford College of Emory University in Oxford, Georgia, at the corner of Fletcher and Wesley Streets. For more information and directions, see www.meridianherald.org