Further thoughts on Bach Around the Clock from Rice & Karosi

Two of the principal organizers of the Bach Around the Clock had a chance to reflect on last week’s events. Joyce Painter Rice and Balint Karosi have been collaborating on this event for five years running.

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Dear First Lutheran Friends,

Thinking back a week ago to Bach Around The Clock, I want to add my thanks to the many appreciations you already have received and tell you that I found the day to be a moving, religious experience.

I missed a morning concert while moving my car and another while eating the delicious lunch, but otherwise I was in the church for ten hours of the concerts. It was in mid-afternoon when I realized that the “sum” event represented the characteristics of Christianity that we recognize as gifts of the Spirit (among them generosity, truth, inspiration, peace, etc.). These are gifts for which we pray and strive to achieve. As a congregation together you exhibited all these characteristics last Saturday. Once again this year I immensely enjoyed planning the organ recitals with Balint and coordinating with the American Guild of Organists. Our anticipated plans for Bach Birthday changed in January when WGBH Classical New England asked if they could be part of the celebration! Balint and I were elated, and I was impressed and grateful that you as a church staff and congregation said “yes, we’ll do it”. And on Saturday throughout the day you graciously welcomed everyone who came. From the very young to the elderly, all who came or listened online knew they were welcomed. I’m sure that many people remembered that Jesus welcomed the children–and you did too. I went downstairs to eat shortly after 1:00 pm, enjoying a great meal and delightful experience. How I admire you all for doing this and thank you for the hard work involved. I considered that Pastor was in the lead and his able staff, Jerry, Mary, Bethany, Pastor’s sister and the many other volunteers, all did marvelous deeds. I hope that the German Lunch was a financial success, but that aside, I want to say that it was a spiritual success. Friends and strangers were equally welcomed and enjoyed both the food and one another’s company. Your message as a congregation was that this church cares for your “real” as well as spiritual needs. Yes, I was reminded of Jesus’ feeding the multitudes by having his disciples distribute the food. As an organist I always have found Bach’s music to be religious and insofar as I know, every musician regardless of their faith experiences a religious aspect of Bach. Mid-afternoon at Bach Around The Clock I felt that the day had become religious. The Christian messages of faith and belief in God’s abiding goodness were being expressed in these concerts through the music, and the messages were strong and beautiful. One message was a call for each person to rededicate his or her own life, in response to the unspoken sermon and conclusion that Bach had been open to living his life as God willed it and that he had worked as hard as he possibly could using his God-given talent. Surely everyone present last Saturday had comparative thoughts: “Am I too using my lifetime and talents fully (as God intends)? What is my response to this music?” The universality of God’s love was another abiding message. In general it was this: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8 It was my great pleasure to work with you on Bach Birthday. It was so worthwhile! As a congregation and church staff you were generous in hosting it and you all were disciples, gently working together in service to God and to all our sisters and brothers. To Pastor Dutzmann, Balint, all of you who volunteered and thus made it possible, and to those members of your congregation who were unable to be present, I want to say thank you for a Holy Spirit-filled day, with multiple blessings and the over-arching message of the love of God.

Yours sincerely,

Joyce Painter Rice

and a note from Balint Karosi, Minister of Music at First Lutheran Church…

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Dear Bach Around the Clock team,

On behalf of First Lutheran Church of Boston I want to thank you for your hard work that made yesterday’s event a tremendous success. I was moved and impressed by the way everything came together in an event that could have been chaotic, but turned out to be one of the smoothest and well-run event I have witnessed during my five-year tenure at FLC. I was personally moved by your dedication and service to make this happen.  To experience the spirit of the day like yesterday makes my profession worthwhile and meaningful.

First of all, thanks to all the performers who graciously offered their marvelous playing throughout the day. WOW! I continued to be impressed
the different way Bach’s music spoke to audiences through different instrument and interpretations. It is a revelation to me each time I hear Bach — whom the composer Martin Bresnick called an “Alien” but perhaps better be described as a “the creative spirit of western civilization” (quote from an audience member yesterday)– continues to mesmerize audiences of all ages and all performers on all instruments. Thank you for your love and enthusiasm. Personally, after having heard 12 hours of Bach yesterday, I was not tired of it, I wanted to hear more!

Big thanks to the WGBH staff and wonderful reporters for running the show, not an easy task when we had so many different performances and logistical issues.Thanks to Ben Roe to pull this amazing team together! Special thanks to the sound-tech people, so easy to work with and flexible to solve problems in the last minute.

Thanks to our own Pastor Ingo Dutzmann and the FLC leadership for their continued support of this event, and his supervision of the lunch crew this year. Bravo to our chef Jerry Irwin, Mary Reuning and all the kitchen crew for a tasty lunch and smooth service. The food is just getting better and better every year, and the service was the most organized and the clean-up the fastest this year. Thank you all for your amazing work.

Special thank to Cheryl Ryder Bethany Krantz, Anya Burkart, Karin Denison (also for her narration in Peep the Piper) and the volunteers who stood by the door ushering or greeting people.  Their enthusiastic work was a well-received display of FLC’s welcoming spirit.

Special thanks to the FLC trustees to ensure all the facilities were under control and taking care of security, which involved a lot of responsibility and behind-the-scenes work.

Thanks to Peter Krasinski and the Boston Chapter of the AGO, who not only provided substantial financial support for this event but had a lot of behind-the-scenes work invested in publicity and communication. Also thanks the AGO for their continued support throughout the five year history of the Bach Birthday.

Also thanks to Pat Kroll and Emmanuel Music for helping publicizing the event.

Thanks to guest organist David Arcus for helping folding the programs the day before his recital!

A particular note and special thank you to Joyce Painter Rice, who have invested countless hours in the various stages of organizing this years’ event. She has spent over 40 hours weekly since January and countless more at our previous events. Without her work and enthusiasm this year’s event would have been impossible. She approached me with the idea of a Bach Birthday Celebration  in 2007, my first year at FLC. We made it happen, and it continues to grow and attract audiences five years after.

Thank to all of you for being part of it!

I have heard some quotes (through Peter Krasinski) from some audience members:

” when I saw the children dancing in the aisles and cheering on their parents’ laps (During Peep the Piper) I felt like crying”
” we don’t really know what brings people together in piece, but this is it”
” you should really do this next year 24hrs, I will be here at 3 a.m.”
” I enjoyed leaving my worries at home and relax just to listen to Bach”

If I didn’t include everyone in this list, please forgive me, and feel free to forward it to the people who you feel were left out!

Please also feel free to send any feedback about your experience, we would be glad to post it on the FLC music website!

Thank you,
Balint Karosi

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One Response to Further thoughts on Bach Around the Clock from Rice & Karosi

  1. Troy says:

    Thank you for streaming the program this year. While I was there in spirit, the ability to hear the program live from Texas was inspirational. This format also allowed me to share this ‘ministry’ with countless others.

    Bravo FLC on your music outreach ministry!

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