Bridwell Library Presents
"Sacred Harmony: The Musical Wesley Family"

Portrait of Charles Wesley.
Engraved by T. A. Dean.
Bridwell Library Special Collections

In honor of the tercentenary of the birth of Charles Wesley, Bridwell Library will stage the exhibition “Sacred Harmony: The Musical Wesley Family,” from Feb. 1 to April 28, 2007, in The Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Galleries at Bridwell Library, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

The exhibition, curated by Dr. Carlton R. Young, professor emeritus of Church Music at Emory University, former director of the Sacred Music Program at Perkins, and editor of The United Methodist Hymnal, features hymn and tune collections, period instruments, and correspondence.

Beginning with the parents of John and Charles Wesley, the exhibition focuses on four generations of the Wesleys and their contributions to the development of worship-music and concert and cathedral music in England. The exhibition will also offer opportunities for hearing music of the Wesleys at listening stations in the galleries.

At 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 1, 2007, Dr. Larry Palmer of the Meadows School of the Arts, SMU, will perform Charles Wesley, Jr.’s keyboard “Sonata in F Minor” at Perkins Chapel. Following the recital, Dr. Nicholas Temperley, professor emeritus at the University of Illinois, will give a lecture entitled “Music and Charity in 18th-Century England with Special Emphasis on the Lock Hospital.” Immediately afterwards, the exhibition opening and reception will be held in Bridwell Library.

The tercentenary celebration will continue at 8 p.m. on Feb. 4, 2007, in Perkins Chapel, when Dr. S T Kimbrough, Jr. will present “Charles Wesley: The Sweet Singer,” a dramatic presentation on the life and hymns of Charles Wesley. Kimbrough is a leading Wesley scholar, founder of the Charles Wesley Society, and an internationally recognized bass-baritone performing extensively in the United States and Europe. He has toured the world with his production of “Sweet Singer.”

In conjunction with Perkins School of Theology’s Ministers Week, there will be three events on Monday, Feb. 5, 2007:

  • At 4:45 p.m. on Feb. 5, 2007, Dr. Richard P. Heitzenrater, professor of Wesley Studies at Duke Divinity School, will present the lecture, “The Wesleys and Money,” in SMU's Hughes-Trigg Student Center Theater.

  • The lecture will be followed by dinner (reservations required; call Sandra Obregon at 214-768-2251 by noon Jan. 31) with special entertainment by Dr. Heizenrater, “John Wesley’s Oxford Variety Show,” in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom.

  • The evening will conclude at 7:30 p.m. in Perkins Chapel with “A Wesley Festival: An Evening of Hymns, Choral Music and Organ Works by the Wesley Family,” led by Dr. Carlton R. Young and featuring Dr. C. Michael Hawn, professor of Sacred Music at Perkins School of Theology, and Dr. Christopher S. Anderson, Festival Organist. In addition, the Choir from Custer Road United Methodist Church, with Director Tim Morrison, will sing “Omnia vanitas et vexatio spiritus” by Samuel Wesley in a new transcription and edition by Carlton R. Young.

From Bridwell Library, the exhibition will travel to the Duke Divinity School Library and be on display from June 15 to August 1, 2007. It then will be at the United Methodist Archives Center at Drew University from September 15 to November 15, 2007.

Perkins School of Theology is one of five University-related official schools of theology of The United Methodist Church. The school was founded in 1911 by the Methodist Episcopal Church South, now The United Methodist Church. Degree programs include the Master of Church Ministries, Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Music, Master of Theological Studies, and Doctor of Ministry degree, as well as the Ph.D. in cooperation with SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.

For more information, please contact Page Thomas, Director of Methodist Studies, Bridwell Library, at 214-768-2363.

Samples of Music by the Wesleys

Play Sonata
Track 21 Charles Wesley, Jr., F minor Sonata. Larry Palmer, Professor of Harpsichord and Organ and SMU University Organist, Meadows School of the Arts. Private recording. Excerpt from the recording used by permission of Dr. Palmer.

Play hymn by Charles Wesley
Track 27 Charles Wesley, George Frideric Handel, GOPSAL, Rejoice! the Lord is king, realization and descant, John Wilson. Charles Wesley at 300. Polly Brecht, harpsichord; Julia Emshiser Bartles, cello; S T Kimbrough, Jr., conductor. GBGMusik, CD1-027. Descant and realization used by permission of Hope Publishing Co. Recorded excerpt used by permission of GBGMusik.

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