While sitting in the pews each Sunday and listening to hymns, members of Sinai Lutheran Church knew their sanctuary was unique.
Since its renovation several years ago, the Fremont church’s sanctuary has distinct acoustical properties that allows the room to enhance the sounds of music.
Sinai’s members decided they wanted to share their unique venue with the community by offering a variety of musical performances.
A committee was formed and a concert series – Sinai Festival Sounds – was launched last year.
Scott Flanagan, a member of the Sinai Festival Sounds Committee, said the committee’s mission statement is “Bringing the musical arts to the community and Sinai through artistic performances.”
“Sinai has always had a deep appreciation for all types of music and as a committee we wanted to share our love of music with the community and give everyone a chance to hear a range of music without having to drive to Omaha or Lincoln and spend lots of money on tickets,” Flanagan said. “This series offers something unique in Fremont.”
Four concerts were chosen for the first year of the series.
“When we did the selecting of the four concerts we wanted something that appealed to a variety of tastes in music. … We really wanted something that a range of people would enjoy and be able to showcase the local/regional talent we have here in Nebraska,” Flanagan said.
The first concert featured pianist Katherine Turner from Omaha. She is a graduate student studying piano at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. The following concert was by soprano Peggy Holloway, a vocal instructor at UNO.
This Sunday marks the third concert in the series. The Hastings College Choir will present a concert at 2 p.m. in Sinai’s sanctuary, located at Eighth and Pebble streets.
Seventy voices of the choir will sing a varied repertoire from sacred masterworks to secular folk songs, a cappella vocal jazz, show tunes and contemporary song stylings.
“Traditionally we sing in many languages, and from many traditions,” Hastings College Choir Director Fritz Mountford said in a press release. “In any given performance we might sing an eclectic combination of love songs and opera choruses or spirituals and world music – in short, anything we find to be beautiful or inspiring or just plain fun.
“We’ll sing all together and in small groups, or feature our own student vocal and instrumental soloists.”
A freewill offering will be collected to help defray the choir’s travel expenses.
The series will wrap up its inaugural season with a performance by the Palladium Brass at 3 p.m. April 14.
The quintet features brass players who perform with other area professional ensembles, including the Omaha Symphony.
Steve Steager, director of bands at Fremont Middle School, is the group’s tuba player. Other members of the quintet are Michael Thompson (trumpet), Tom Kelly (trumpet), Louis J. Stout (horn) and Mark Mendell (trombone).
Midway through its inaugural season, Flanagan said the concert series, which is supported by freewill offerings and sponsors, has been a positive experience.
“It has been warmly received and we have received many compliments from attendees and the performers themselves,” he said.
Planning is already underway for Sinai Festival Sounds’ second season.
“We are waiting for commitments from a couple of groups before we make any final announcements about dates,” Flanagan said. “We will be collecting email addresses at the next two performances so we can contact people about next year’s season when everything is finalized.”