BATAVIA – A duo will livestream a concert from Bethany Lutheran Church in Batavia at 2 p.m. May 31, featuring Alan Spear, church organist and pianist, and flutist and pianist Emma Foelske.
Spear said Foelske, who grew up in Batavia and at Bethany, is a lovely flute player.
They have been taking requests from the congregation for part of the concert program, Spear said.
"It's pretty informal; I'm not going to get out my tux," he joked.
Members of the congregation have sent their requests for favorite hymns and other selections. A few hymns will pair Spear on organ and Foelske on piano.
"We're doing all kinds of different things," Spear said. "We're going to play 'The Prayer,' [popularized] by Celine Dion [and] Josh Groban."
For "The Prayer," Foelske will play the flute, and the other part will be performed by Spear on the flute stop of the organ. The church has an Aeolian-Skinner organ and Kawai piano.
"We're doing Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'Pie Jesu,' another utterly gorgeous song, [and] 'Scarborough Fair,'" Spear said. "The whole concert is very light."
A special selection will be the request by a Navy veteran for Spear to perform "Eternal Father, Strong to Save," a hymn associated with maritime armed services.
"I'm dedicating it to my grandfather who won the Navy Cross for heroism in World War I," Spear said. "We're ending with 'You'll Never Walk Alone."
Mark Waldron, pastoral associate and director of music at Bethany, will introduce some of the hymns by sharing the history of the music and lyrics.
The wider community is invited to tune in to the recital.
The concert will be livestreamed on Facebook and then put up on the church website to be enjoyed anytime.
Spear, a Batavia resident, has been organist at the church for 14 years. This is the first such concert, but he hopes to perform additional ones with varied musicians.
He noted that Bethany Lutheran will celebrate its sesquicentennial in two years, adding it's been the congregation members' home for generations.
During the pandemic, Spear said they realized, "We have a calling to try to bring church to them as much as we can."