Thursday March 28, 2013

BENNINGTON -- The First Congregational Church of Bennington (the "Old First Church") will hold a Tenebrae service on Good Friday, March 29, at 8 p.m. at the church (60 Monument Ave., Old Bennington). Tenebrae is a contemplative service combining a reading of the Passion narrative and psalms with silence, light, and darkness pointing to the work of Jesus Christ, which resolves on Easter day. Special music will include François Couperin's haunting "Leçons de Tenebrae," featuring sopranos Kerry Ryer-Parke and Karen Swann, cellist Nat Parke, and visiting organist Scott Smedinghoff, presented in the context of the dramatic and moving Tenebrae liturgy, with appropriate readings and the ceremonial extinguishing of candles ("tenebrae" = darkness) commemorating the Crucifixion.

Prior to the 8 p.m. service, a simple supper of soup and bread will be shared at the Church Barn (One Monument Avenue) at 6:30 p.m. The meal recalls Jesus's Last Supper with his followers and will include a short communion service.

On Easter Sunday, March 31, at 11 a.m., a festive mood will prevail as Old First celebrates the most important day in the church calendar, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The church will be filled with Easter lilies, spring flowers, colorful balloons, and triumphal music provided by the Old First Church Choir and a host of trumpets, trombones, and percussion drawn from a very talented pool of local musicians, under the direction of choir director and organist Charles Olegar. Featured music will include Marcel Dupré's stirring "Poeme Héroique," a brass-choir anthem from the Renaissance Venetian Polychoral school, and Widor's celebrated Toccata in F for organ.

All are welcome at no charge; a free-will offering will be collected to help support the works of the church.

More information is available by calling the church office at 802-447-1223.