Frostburg State University music professor Joan DeVee Dixon will present a series of organ concerts on Friday, Sept. 14, and Sunday, Sept. 16, featuring music from the Czech Republic.
The Friday night “Mass for Spillville” will begin at 7 p.m. at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 58 Broadway, Frostburg, celebrated by the Rev. Rick Morley. The Sunday organ concert will begin at 4 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church on 11 Washington St. in Cumberland. Both programs, part of FSU’s Faculty Artist Series, are free and open to the public.
Dixon’s composition, “Polka Mass for Spillville” was commissioned by the Czech Heritage Partnership in Spillville, Iowa. The world premiere was given at St. Wenceslaus Church, the same congregation where Dvorak spent his famed Iowa summer in 1893. Dixon’s Mass setting draws upon several influential Czech hymns, waltzes and chants. The service includes two beloved Czech hymns, one of which was performed by Dvorak in Spillville on the same 1876 Pfeffer organ that remains in the church today. Polka Mass is the term used for a worship service in which, traditionally, a polka band accompanies all of the music. Musical selections are based on the sacred texts of the Catholic Mass, arranged in a polka style. Although the term Polka Mass, in its strictest definition, would apply only to the Catholic Mass, polka services now happen with great frequency in non-Catholic churches, too. Most polka masses are held in conjunction with a festival or anniversary.
Dixon’s concert program at First Presbyterian Church in Cumberland will feature selections by Czech composers Dvorak, Nelhybel, Havlicek, Wiedermann and Strejc. American selections by Paul Manz and Fred Bock will include well-known hymn settings. The program will conclude with a set of original settings of American spirituals by Dixon, “Down by the Riverside,” “I’ve got Shoes,” “Give Me Jesus” and “When the Saints go Marching In.”
Dixon has conducted extensive concert tours of the United States, England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Palestine, Japan and the Czech Republic. She now performs for music festivals, universities, schools and churches all over the world and her recordings are featured on radio programs such as “Pipedreams.” She has performed recently at Westminster Abbey and Westminster Cathedral in London, England; St. Mark’s in Venice; American Cathedral in Paris; The Strathmore and Washington National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.; Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis; Azuchi Concert Hall in Japan; and the World Congress Center in Atlanta. In 2008, she will be a featured artist at the International Dvorak Festival.
For more information, contact St. John’s Episcopal Church at 301-689-6634 or First Presbyterian Church at 301-777-3700. You may also visit: www.joandeveedixon.com.
FSU is committed to making all of its programs, services and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. To request accommodations through the ADA Compliance Office, call (301) 687-4102, TDD (301) 687-7955.