RB News & Notes

May 31, 2008

Thanks to David Spicer & the Choirs of First Church

Filed under: Bitgood Festival — Grace @ 1:52 pm

On May 18th, 2008, the choirs and handbell ringers of First Church of Christ in Wethersfield (Connecticut) were joined by area instrumentalists and conductors in presenting a selection of my mother Roberta Bitgood’s best-known sacred choral works (and a few works not so well known), including her cantata Job, with First Church Minister of Music and the Arts, David Spicer, at the organ. You can see the full program by clicking here.

In attendance at this revival and appreciation of the Bitgood musical corpus were friends from the First Church community and Hartford area, as well as choir singers from Crossroads Presbyterian Church in Waterford, who had themselves sung most of the works performed here as members of Roberta’s choir in years past. My husband Stuart and I were joined, too, by Dave and Judy Culler (close friends of Roberta since the early 1960s, when they had been members of her choir in Detroit, Michigan). Judy even contributed a violin performance to the program, in remembrance of the many occasions when she had played the same piece with my mother over the years of their friendship. Another group in attendance was a contingent of Bitgood friends and associates from the New London County chapter of the American Guild of Organists.

The choirs, soloists, and players all gave heartily of themselves in providing us with thought-provoking renderings of works we thought we knew inside out. Their attitude of enthusiasm and reverence for my mother’s achievement allowed listeners to grasp the sincerity of her spiritual quest as she explored, through her own musical language, the meaning of her chosen texts. It was an important milestone for me to get a clear glimpse of what motivated my mother’s earliest works and to experience admiration for her simply as a member of the public. I sent thanks to David and the choirs of First Church, as follows:

Sincere thanks to all who sang, rang, played and conducted in the Bitgood festival on May 18. Your inspired performances made everyone present appreciate my mother’s music in new ways. The whole event was a wonderful expression of tribute to her as a person, too.


Grace Wiersma

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