Special Events in Music Ministry



June 25 – 3:00pm – AUMC’s Star Spangled Spectacular

The 16th annual Star Spangled Spectacular concert featuring the Festival Choir and full professional orchestra, will take place in the sanctuary of Auburn United Methodist Church, Sunday, June 25, at 3:00 PM. There is no admission charge and the public is cordially invited to attend.  This annual concert is made possible this year through the generous gift of an anonymous donor allowing  Auburn UMC to provide this concert as a gift to the East Alabama community.

Special features of the performance include a rousing salute to the armed forces with representatives from all military branches.  Musical highlights include: exciting musical arrangements composed for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir by Mack Wilberg which include  “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” and “God of Our Fathers.” Other patriotic favorites include “Let There Be Peace on Earth,” “Simple Gifts,” and a delightful suite entitled “An Americana Songbook” containing many entertaining and poignant American folk songs.   The Festival Orchestra, which is composed of professional players from Columbus, Georgia, Montgomery and Auburn, Alabama, Atlanta, Georgia and beyond, will also thrill the audience with the Sousa “Washington Post March,” “Stars and Stripes Forever,” and two newly arranged orchestral suites, “American Overture” and “Celebration of American Spirituals.”

The underlying theme for this year’s production is unity and brotherly love.  AUMC’s Director of Music Ministries, Gary Klarenbeek, shares, “As the repertoire is selected for this annual patriotic salute, I pray for guidance to what message the Lord desires for us to share.  With all the events going on in our world and with so much hate, division, terrorism, and contempt, I couldn’t get the words from one popular tune out of my mind: “What the world needs now is love sweet love.  It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of…”  That text inspired many of the other selections for the concert including the If I Had A Hammer medley which includes many songs of peace and brotherly love ending with a rousing “We Shall Overcome.”  Another poignant piece entitled “Prayer of the Children” emotes a passionate plea for world peace which is powerfully needed in today’s broken world.  But in spite of the challenges we face at home and abroad, this concert will remind us all that America is our home sweet home and it will deliver a message of joy, hope, and all-American fun.”

Featured soloists will include alto, Karen Bellah on “Where Have all the Flowers Gone?,” baritone, Kevin Duvall, on “I Love You/What a Wonderful World,” and “One Song,” and soprano, Amory Scott, on “You Can Dream.”  Also featured will be acclaimed recording and performing artist, Jacquie Cruz, who will be featured on “Nella Fantasia,” and the magnificent Sandi Patty finale arrangement performed for the re-opening of the Statue of Liberty, “The Star Spangled Banner Finale.”  It will be a rousing climactic musical moment attendees will never forget.  The Festival Choir will also be featured on in two anthems at the eleven o’clock worship service.

The annual Star Spangled performances began here in Auburn in 2002 shortly after Gary Klarenbeek, joined the Auburn UMC staff as Director of Music Ministries. However, The Star Spangled Spectacular concept traces its roots back to St. Louis where Klarenbeek served his first church appointment after graduating from college.  The first Star Spangled was held in 1987.  After leaving St. Louis, this annual tradition followed him around the country from Houston, to Naples, Florida, and then made its way to Auburn.

Klarenbeek says, “The annual Star Spangled is one of our music ministry’s most uplifting and inspiring performances we do throughout the year.  Although preparing for worship each Sunday is our choir’s highest calling, special performances like these where we combine with a full professional orchestra and singers from the community, allow our choir to minister and grow musically in exciting and dramatic ways.   What began as a ‘trial run’ in 2002 has become one of our church’s most well-attended community outreach events of the year.  Klarenbeek continued, “It’s humbling to be a part of this great musical tradition each year where we can pay tribute to our service men and women and to all those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.”

There is no admission charged for the concert.  A love offering will be received with proceeds benefiting the Designated Music Fund which provides musical programs for the community throughout the year.  For more information contact the Music Ministry at 826-8800.