Workman bringing ‘Passion’ this Good Friday


PORTSMOUTH- Dr. Stanley Workman is getting ready to bless the community with yet another strong musical performance, this time the showcase being St. John Passion by Johann Sebastian Bach as a celebration of Good Friday.

The soloists of the day will include Justin Wiget, the Evangelist (Portsmouth); Robert Kerr, Jesus (Columbus area); Carline Waugh, soprano (Marshall faculty); Michele Imes, mezzo-soprano (Portsmouth); Alex Lee, tenor (Marshall faculty); and Eric Brown, baritone/Pilate (Morehead faculty).

The combined choirs of Shawnee State University Choir and the Second Presbyterian Chancel Choir will be accompanied by a professional orchestra drawn from the region, from places such as Huntington, Charleston, Columbus, Lexington, Louisville, and more.

Conducted by Dr. Stanley Workman, Jr., this performance commemorates the 300th anniversary of the first performance in Leipzig, Germany.

“Bach had just recently accepted the job as the music director of the city, beginning what could be described as his mature compositional period, would be the final post in his amazing career,” Workman explained. “The St. John Passion is a dramatic musical exposition of the ‘passion’ story of Christ, the narrative presented by the Evangelist, who is a narrator somewhat, and the characters of Jesus, Pilate, Peter, etc. The chorus carries out many different roles: the grand choral work, the singing of the chorales, and then acting out the part of the vicious mob, that is very much a part of the dramatic quality of the work.”

Workman explained that the musical contribution of the soloists acts very much like a Greek chorus, with the action stopping to reflect and meditate on the action of the narrative.

“Likewise, the choir sings chorales, a type of hymn tune that originated in the Lutheran Church,” Workman said. “There are 12 of these interspersed throughout the work, and they represent reflections by the modern congregation, as they are reacting to the narrative.”

According to Workman, the original meaning of the word “passion” that is used today is quite different from a more traditional meaning within the church. While today, someone may connect the word to desire, emotion, and feeling, the original meaning of the word was a reference to the sufferings and death of Christ.

Many of the performers outlined in the upcoming concert are those who have either studied under Workman, have extensive history working with him, or have partnered before. Workman is well known for his professional level conducting and planning of performances that are emotional and impactful.

St. John Passion will be held March 29, 3 p.m., at Second Presbyterian Church, 801 Waller Street, Portsmouth. The performance is free and open to the public. It is approximately two hours in length.

Reach Joseph Pratt at (740) 353-3101, by email at [email protected], © 2024 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.

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