Central Moravian Church to Honor Donald Spieth and Richard Schantz at Johnston Memorial Festival Concert Oct. 8

BETHLEHEM — Central Moravian Church will honor the lives and legacies of two prominent musicians whose talents and leadership influenced countless musicians, worshipers, and audiences at the church, in the Lehigh Valley, and beyond during its Estelle Borhek Johnston Memorial Festival Concert on Oct. 8 at 4 p.m.

In honor of the late Donald Spieth (1941-2023), who served for 15 years as conductor-in-residence at Central Moravian Church, and Richard Schantz (1928-2020), who directed the Central Moravian Choir from 1971 to 2002, the choir, organist Rebecca Lepore, strings, harp, and Mainstreet Brass will present a concert of diverse instrumental and choral works by J.S. Bach, Mozart, Vaughan Williams, Parry, Elgar, select movements from the Durufle, Faure and Dan Forrest requiems, as well as classic anthems arranged by Mack Wilberg.

In addition to their roles at Central Moravian, Spieth and Schantz also worked at Moravian University, leading instrumental and choral programs there, respectively, for many years.

“This concert has been designed as a celebratory musical tribute to these two great musicians whose gifts enriched worship services and concerts at Central Moravian for many years and left a treasured legacy for so many musicians,” said Lepore, minister of music at Central Moravian Church. “We want this program to represent a musical and scriptural response to the gift of living that God gives us here on earth, and then the gift of eternal life that is promised to us after this life.”

The Estelle Borhek Johnston Memorial Concert was established in memory of Estelle Borhek Johnston (1867-1952) by her daughter, the late Mrs. Elizabeth Johnston Jost, and her son, Archibald B. Johnston. Through the generous endowment provided by the Johnston family, this concert is free to the public.

Admission: Free. Doors will open at 3:30 p.m.

Central Moravian Church, founded in 1742, is Bethlehem’s first congregation and the oldest Moravian Church in North America. Coming from a variety of backgrounds and traditions, the congregation today joins together to experience God’s love in a caring, respectful and inclusive atmosphere. Central Moravian Church emphasizes Christian faith, hope and love.

With a rich, living musical tradition, Central Moravian Church presents a full schedule of concerts annually. Early American Moravians had close connections to their European roots and sought and performed contemporary music being composed in Europe. Haydn’s “The Creation” was performed for the first time in the United States in the sanctuary of Central Moravian Church in 1811, and the first complete performance of Bach’s Mass in B minor was presented at Central in 1900, thus giving Central Moravian Church status as a National Landmark of Music.

Information & image provided to TVL by:
Bryan Hay