Harps, dulcimers enliven musical offerings during Frederick church tour -- Gazette.Net


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Divine Destinations: Candlelight Tour of Historic Houses of Worship
When: 4-9 p.m. Wednesday
Where: historic downtown Frederick
Tickets: Free
Free brochure and map: Frederick Visitor Center (151 S. East St.); participating churches; local Roy Rogers restaurants; Church Tour Information Center (19 E. Church St.) from 3 to 9 p.m. Wednesday
For information and to verify performance times: 301-600-4047, www.visitfrederick.org, click on “Holidays in Frederick”
Participating churches:
ź All Saints Episcopal Church, 106 W. Church St.
ź Asbury United Methodist Church, W. All Saints and Court streets
ź Calvary United Methodist Church, N. Bentz and West 2nd streets
ź Centennial Memorial United Methodist Church, 8 West 2nd St.
ź Evangelical Lutheran Church, 31 E. Church St.
ź Evangelical Reformed United Church of Christ, 11 W. Church St.
ź Frederick Presbyterian Church, 115 W. 2nd St.
ź Grace United Church of Christ, 25 E. 2nd St.
ź Joseph Dill Baker Carillon, Baker Park, 121 N. Bentz St.
ź St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, 118 E. 2nd St.
ź Trinity Chapel United Church of Christ, 10 W. Church St.
ź Visitation Academy Chapel, 200 E. 2nd St.

Most people know what the sound of one harp sounds like, but what about six, all playing at once?

Harp lovers can find out the answer by visiting All Saints Episcopal Church in Frederick on the day after Christmas.

Playing for the first time this year at the church is the Frederick Harp Ensemble, founded by Astrid Walschot-Stapp.

All Saints is one of 11 churches on the city’s 26th annual Candlelight Tour of Historic Houses of Worship. Also participating is the Joseph Dill Baker Carillon in Baker Park.

“For a lot of people, it’s what they do after Christmas,” says Robyn Hildebrand, coordinator of the event for the Tourism Council of Frederick County.

“The day after Thanksgiving, people go shopping. But there’s no cost involved in this,” she says about the self-guided tour. “It’s a serene setting in houses of worship.”

Per tradition, the churches will provide a variety of music and refreshments for visitors from 4 to 9 p.m.

Walschot-Stapp and five of her students will perform a range of songs, including “Silent Night,” “Greensleeves,” “Frosty the Snowman” and a duet based on the theme song from the British TV miniseries “Downton Abbey.”

“When you play the harp, you’re one of a kind where you are — it’s special, but you’re always very lonely,” says Walschot-Stapp.

“It’s nice if they can be together,” she says about the holiday ensemble. “They really enjoy it, and they learn from each other. It also gives them a lot of confidence.”

New this year at Frederick Presbyterian Church will be a hammered dulcimer performance by college student Cobey England.

“We heard him at a St. Andrews Society dinner and he was really good,” says pianist Nancy Beith, who teaches at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, in Catonsville and coordinates the tour at the church with her husband, Al Beith.

Returning to sing at Frederick Presbyterian will be Janice Jackson, who also teaches at UMBC.

Jackson will sing Christmas spirituals and carols, including “O Holy Night” and the French carol “Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabelle,” Beith says.

There also will be organ and piano music and a brass quintet, she says.

“It’s our favorite evening of the year,” Beith says. “It’s just something we thoroughly enjoy.”

vterhune@gazette.net