Carolina Salt February Issue

Page 32

Hymnprov: piano by talented Clay Whittington Hope Mission and Cape Lookout High School invite you to join them for a benefit concert presented by talented musician Clay Whittington on Sunday March 3 at 7pm at The Morehead Center, 1311 Arendell St., Morehead City. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door and can be purchased by calling 252-726-1501 or online at www. themoreheadcenter.com. Mr. Whittington is well-known in Carteret County for his work with the Carteret Community Theater as the pianist for their 2011 show Broadway at Its Best. He returns to the county with his spring tour show that will thrill his fans and win new admirers. Clay Whittington’s Hymnprov is a series of hymns done in Clay’s unique style of improvisational piano performance with styles ranging from classical to jazz and blues to rock. No part of the performance is rehearsed and “sheet music” is only used as a guide to the melody. The choir director at Camp Ground United Methodist Church in Kinston, Clay has a rich background in sacred music that he brings to the stage. His performance is divided into 4 parts: Wesleyan Hymns, Spirituals, Contemporary Hymns, and Traditional Hymns. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, once said, “Light yourself on fire with passion and people will come from miles to watch you burn.” Clay’s passion for playing the piano for not only the enjoyment of others, but also for the glory of God, really comes to life in this selection of hymns. These songs are dubbed “Wesley Hymns” as they are tunes set to lyrics written by Charles Wesley, brother of John Wesley. Notable tunes in this section include “Love Divine, All Loves Excelling,” Soldiers of Christ, Arise” and the ever-popular (and possibly the “anthem” of the Methodist Church) “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing!” As part of Lent, this section includes Clay’s all-time favorite hymn, “Christ, the Lord, Is Risen Today.” The program continues with highlights of AfroAmerican spirituals in classical, jazz and blues. Much loved hymns in this section include “Nobody Knows the Trouble I See” and “I Want Jesus to Walk with

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Carolina Salt Magazine

Me.” Popular hymns in the show include favorites that were written in more modern time. Clay performs selections from popular recording artists and composers such as Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith and even Duke Ellington. Songs that can be heard in this section include “Spirit Song,” “Come Sunday” and “My Tribute.” In closing his program Mr. Whittington ensures that the “traditional hymns” of early America and the Reformation are heard as you’ve never heard them before! Imagine a piano rock version of “Battle Hymn of the Republic” or an impromptu jazz-styled “Onward, Christian Soldiers.” Your old-time favorites will rock the stage as Clay makes the grand piano bring praise to a whole new level! Make your plans now to support the work of Hope Mission and Cape Lookout High School and enjoy this splendid evening of musical improvisation by one of our area’s most accomplished pianists. Find out more about Clay at www.claywhittington.me. FEBRUARY 2013 >> www.CarolinaSalt.com