WHAT: A concert to benefit Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry
WHEN: Sunday, July 22, 2 p.m.
WHERE: St. James Episcopal Church, 424 W. State St., Black Mountain
WHY: When local composer and pianist Annelinde Metzner heard that former opera soprano Kimberly Hughes had moved to Black Mountain, she jumped at the chance to work with her. In the subsequent 10 years, the two have performed short programs together, mostly connected to Metzner’s poetry readings, but on Sunday, July 22, at St. James Episcopal Church in Black Mountain, they’ll combine forces in new and exciting ways.
Titled “Feminine Faces of God” — a phrase that Hughes received in a meditation in early January — the concert is a reflection of the friends’ shared dedication to honoring Mary Magdalene’s teachings and historical significance, as well as other females and feminine representations of God that Hughes says have been suppressed, written out of history or maligned untruthfully.
“I think it’s meant to balance things out a bit,” Hughes says. “Images have power in the mind. The feminine images of God need to be seen and sung about, too.”
Held on the Feast Day of Mary Magdalene, the program includes settings of Metzner’s poetry, such as one inspired by her pilgrimages to look for Mother Mary in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and her settings of works by contemporary poets, including as Alice Walker (“We Have a Beautiful Mother”) and Diane di Prima (“O Lady, Loba”).
“One of the songs, ‘Magdala, Tower,’ came about because Kim asked me to set to music a poem I wrote for Mary Magdalene and performed five years ago at the Light Center,” Metzner says. “This is probably the most powerful, emotional center of the whole concert, especially since Kim has just returned from a pilgrimage to Mary Magdalene sites in France, which will further inform her strength of expression.”
The pair will be joined by soprano Jennifer Worthen, Rita Hayes (flute) and Isabel Castellvi (cello), while Maggie Moon will perform sacred dance. The Venerable Archdeacon Kristi Neal of St. James Episcopal will speak, as will Cheryl Wilson, director of the Swannanoa Valley Christian Ministry, whose Hope for Tomorrow women’s and children’s shelter’s construction will receive a financial boost as the beneficiary of the event’s donation-based admission.
“Their mission speaks to me because, in my opinion, our government has largely abandoned the underprivileged, and that abandonment is worsening,” Hughes says. “Someone needs to help, and SVCM has been doing that beautifully for a long time. The Hope for Tomorrow home in Black Mountain for women and children will extend that help in extraordinary ways.”
Feminine Faces of God takes place Sunday, July 22, 2 p.m., at St. James Episcopal Church, 424 W. State St., Black Mountain. $15-$150 suggested donation. stjameswnc.org