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Sons of Art

3:00 pm (doors open at 2:30)

Admission: $15, $10 Members/Students with I.D. Concert tickets are not sold in advance but may be purchased at the door 30 minutes prior to the event.

The Museum is pleased to host this popular six-member Montgomery County singing group on the auspicious occasion of their 25th anniversary concert! For a quarter century "The Sons" have been giving soul-stirring a cappella performances and Glencairn is excited to have them back where it all began for an afternoon that will feature familiar favorites from the Sons’ vast repertoire, which includes classical, sacred, secular and popular music. The highly diverse selections will include "Kyrie," a 14th – 16th Century Plainsong piece; "Gaudete" (from "Piae Cantiones"), an anonymous Swedish/Finnish Sacred Song written in 1582; "Ay me! Can every Rumor" by John Wilbye (1574 – 1638); "The Longest Time" by Billy Joel and "Don’t Worry Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin, among others. Special guests include Sopranos Hope and Aurelle Odhner (5th grade twin sisters), and Justine Brannon; Nancy Metroka, Flute; the Men’s Ocassional Choir; and Shawn Rose, Piano. The Sons of Art will also perform two selections ("Prayer of the Children" by Kurt Bestor, transcribed by bass singer Kent Cooper, and "I Believe" by Lenny LeBlanc) "in memory of all tragic losses to wars and terrorism."

The group gave its first-ever public performance at Glencairn. "At the time, we didn’t yet have a name," remembered Kent Cooper. They performed at the Museum’s annual Membership Dinner Meeting, an event which was spotlighting the Calatrava Manuscript, a large medieval music book currently housed in Glencairn’s library. In its honor, Museum Director Stephen Morley introduced them as "The Minstrel Monks of Calatrava," and they began their performance by singing several period pieces.

The group eventually settled on a name drawn from the lyrics of a classical composition, "Come Ye Sons of Art," a multi-movement work for orchestra, chorus and vocal soloists composed by Henry Purcell in 1694 in celebration of the birthday of Queen Mary. The composition includes the lyrics "Come, come ye sons of art, come, come away. Tune all your voices and instruments play. To celebrate, to celebrate this triumphant day!" The name, said founder and director Chris Simons, represented his goal of creating a men’s a cappella group that "seeks out all forms of vocal art – a group that would be willing to explore music from the classical to the Grateful Dead."

The group might not have been known then, but it’s a familiar one in the Bryn Athyn area now. The Sons of Art, whose members all are from the Bryn Athyn and Huntingdon Valley communities, contributes regularly to church services in Bryn Athyn and at secular events throughout the year.

The group, with Cooper and Simons, includes lead singer Dan Allen, high tenor Grant Smith, second tenor Keith Genzlinger and baritone Dean Holmes. Glencairn holds a lot of memories for Simons. "When I was a boy it was still the Raymond Pitcairn home, with butlers and all the formal trimmings of Victorian "nobility" in Bryn Athyn. I attended concerts there and played my trombone in Christmas events on the very stage [on which] we will sing [on January 27th]," he said. "Glencairn has always been synonymous with elegance and, as a performance arena, it has always been thought of as where only the best are displayed. The Sons of Art have sung from the main hall stage, in the dining room, in the cloister, from the balcony, and even from the glass balcony high above the stage [on the third floor]. It will be a joy to be back."

Back row, from left, are Chris Simons, Keith Genzlinger and Dan Allen. Front row, from left, are Dean Holmes, Kent Cooper and Grant Smith, all from the Bryn Athyn/Huntingdon Valley community.

Montgomery News printed this recent story about the anniversary concert.

Earlier Event: January 6
Epiphany Program
Later Event: February 3
Medieval Festival