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Music, Gettysburg!

Kathryn Franke
MSM Class of 2013

Itís that time of the year again. The time when summer has come to an end and we begin to welcome autumn. As the trees begin to change colors and the temperature starts to drop, donít let those end-of-summer blues hold you back from having some fun with some great entertainment!

There are plenty of things to do in the area this month, but perhaps one of the biggest attractions is Music, Gettysburg!, which is a premier concert series that features international, regional and local musical artists. The concerts are directed at the greater southern Pennsylvania region, and the concerts are free and open to the public. No reservations or tickets are required for these concerts. It is a great opportunity to enrich your musical exposure and be introduced to artists from many different genres and regions.

The concert series has been made possible by the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg along with businesses and individuals from the surrounding area. Through their dedication and commitment to the arts, they have collectively brought us a musical experience that we will not soon forget. Unless otherwise stated, all of the concerts in the series will all take place in the Church of the Abiding Presence, the chapel of the Gettysburg Seminary, which is located at 147 Seminary Ridge, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. ??

Seminary professor Gerald Christianson founded the Music, Gettysburg! organization in 1980, and since then it has been putting forth a musical series of at least 15 concerts every year. According to Mark Oldenburg, the Chair of the concert series, musicians and musical ensembles come from all around the country to participate in the venue for the concert series. They love the chapel's extraordinary acoustics and the appreciative audiences, which make the concerts an unforgettable experience for all those who participate and attend.

Music can do amazing things. It has the power to capture feeling, emotion, and even history. It is one of our most powerful means of communication, and it can convey a message from an individual, a group, and even a country. So what better way to open up the Music, Gettysburg! series than to honor our country by memorializing the anniversary of the September 11th attacks?

This is just what the Gettysburg Chamber Orchestra (GCO) did. The GCO has been operating for almost fifteen years now. Norman and Carolyn Nunamaker founded the ensemble in 1997, and the organizationís first concert took place in May of 1998. The ensemble is fully professional, and it consists of members from the Gettysburg area in addition to Harrisburg, Washington, Baltimore and York. Its goal is to include as many Adams County musicians as possible, both as members and soloists. This goal gives the group a very authentic and local feel, which enhances their performance as a whole.

Using the music of John Rutter, Gustav Mahler, and Tchaikovsky, the GCO brought the concert series to life on September 11th in the Gettysburg Seminary Chapel. Karen Botterbusch, a long time resident of Gettysburg, was the featured soloist on the flute. Botterbuschís accomplishments are quite impressive. She plays flute and piccolo with the Harrisburg and York Symphony Orchestras as well as the Shippensburg Festival Orchestra. She is involved with the Pennsylvania Regional Ballet Orchestra, and she is the Principal Flute in the Gettysburg Chamber Orchestra. As you can see, her musical career has been very successful so far, and she brought her skill and experience to the concert to make it an unforgettable beginning to a remarkable series.

The concert honored the anniversary of the 2001 attacks, and it was a powerful orchestral program filled with passion and patriotism. The Director of the GCO, Dr. Norman Nunamaker, decided to dedicate the performance of Mahler's Adagietto to the victims and first responders of the attacks. He says that "the Adagietto is one of the most expressive compositions ever written and it is fitting to perform this work at this time. Plus, this year marks the 100th anniversary of Mahler's untimely death in 1911."

This month, the concert that will take place is a benefit for the Chapel makeover. It is entitled "Our Favorite Things" and it will take place on Sunday, October 9th at 4:00pm. As for the rest of the year, there are many other chances to see some of the great musical talent the area has to offer. On Friday, November 11th at 7:00pm, organist Christian Mark Lane will perform. On Sunday, November 20th at 4:00pm, the Pavlish Stokes LaNasa Trio will take the stage. The following Sunday on November 27th at 7:30pm, the concert is the Festival Choral Vespers for Advent with the Schola Cantorum of Gettysburg. Rounding up 2011 is A Christmas Offering on Sunday, December 18th at 7:00pm.

The schedule for the concert series continues into the New Year and goes on until late May. The first concert of the New Year will take place on Friday, January 27th at 7:30pm. Organist Felix Hell and guest pianist Grace Kim will give us a musical performance like no other. The next concert is on Sunday, March 4th at 4:00pm with the New Amsterday Trip and Mary Hammann. On Sunday, April 1st at 3:00pm, Coplandís Appalachian Spring will perform at the chapel. We will have a whole new type of performance on Sunday, April 22nd at 4:00pm as we witness the up-and-coming talent of the next generation through a performance by the Gettysburg Childrenís Choir. Nearing the end of the series, the Gettysburg Chamber Orchestra will perform on Sunday, May 13th at 4:00pm. Finally, bringing the concert series to a wonderful end on Sunday, May 20th at 4:00pm is the Boston Shawm and Sackbut Ensemble with the Schola Cantorum of Gettysburg.

This is a series that you do not want to miss. Even a decade ago in 2001, Central PA Magazine, the magazine of WITF-FM (the public radio station of Central Pennsylvania) named Music, Gettysburg! one of its "50 Fabulous Finds" in its listening area. So donít let the music end with the summer. Pick a concert that interests you in particular, or come to them all! But donít miss out on this great experience as the Gettysburg area exhibits such amazing musical talent. They are all performances that will bring you to your feet, chanting for an encore.

For more information about the concerts remaining in the Music, Gettysburg! schedule, please call 717-334-6286 ext. 2197 or email or visit the website at

For further information about the Gettysburg Chamber Orchestra concert please call 717-334-5508.

More information is also available at the Seminaryís web site:

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