It was an e-mail message to the choir from Doug Starr that got me to thinking about this. Cellist Alexandra Thompson will be playing Bach and Purcell at this Sunday’s 10:30 service. Allie has just graduated from Cleveland Institute of Music and will play with the National Repertory Orchestra this summer. She then moves to Miami’s New World Symphony, whose music director is Michael Tilson Thomas.
I first remember Allie playing cello in church when she was about 12. She then played a cello that was not even full-size. (Allie wasn’t full size, either!) Her playing was impressive, and not only technically. She already played with with great sensitivity to the material she was working with. Over the years, Allie became more and more accomplished, and I found myself mesmerized both by listening to her and watching her play. (Cellists are much more fun to watch than violinists!)
That St. Paul’s offers opportunities for our youth to exercise their musical skills in church is, in itself, a ministry of our parish. That it is meaningful is illustrated in this story that Doug related in his e-mail:
My favorite “Allie story” happened during one summer of her high school years at the prestigious Interlochen music camp in Michigan. After hearing Allie expertly accompany Baroque music (as she will do in Sunday’s offertory anthem by Henry Purcell), playing the continuo bass line giving both foundations to the harmonies and providing a weaving solo bass line against those lines in the upper parts, her teacher asked where she learned to play continuo. “In church!” she gleefully answered, which should give us all pride in our support for a music ministry that gives glory to God in worship and thanksgiving for God’s blessings in our talented youth.Worship at St. Paul’s at 10:30 Sunday, and you can hear and support Allie. Some day, you’ll want to say you knew her when ….
Update, 6/5/2011. Allie played two Bach pieces for unaccompanied cello in church today and accompanied the choir in Purcell’s “O God the King of Glory.” Below is a picture of her playing the Gigue from Bach’s Suite IV: