CHAUTAUQUA - Chautauqua-Hurlbut Community Church in Chau-tauqua Institution will feature the area's only performance of "The Christmas Sessions" at its Midweek Vespers worship service Wednesday. The weekly family music and arts worship events will begin with a 5:30 p.m. dinner, with the service beginning at 6 p.m.
The Christmas Sessions, a 2008 recording by Bill Ward and the Doerfels, is being featured at this exclusive live performance this holiday season. The project features all original Christmas songs written by Ward, and was recorded by him and the popular touring family band. The specials will be performed live this season by Ward and two other well-known area performers. Since its first release, the album has been reissued with previously unreleased material.
Ward has again enlisted the help of Amanda Barton and Matt Homan to present this special performance.
Their special guest for the evening is Ward's daughter Alice Ward, a voice major at Kent State University.
The CD is already on sale, and proceeds from each purchase will benefit Project Chacocente, an organization which exists to help the extremely poor in Nicaragua. The recording will also be available at the service.
Ward is a respected Chautauqua artist, having performed throughout the country for nearly four decades. A community developer and promoter, he founded and organizes the Mayville Bluegrass Festival, and was recognized by the Chautauqua County Music Hall of Fame as Promoter of the Year in 2007. It was that same year that he was inducted in the Hall.
Homan is a veteran of the Western New York music scene, and has made an impact. Forming the Haybalers in 2006, he quickly became a mover and shaker in the local acoustic music scene. He is now the leader of the Bluegrass Disciples, a virtual 'who's who' of WNY bluegrass musicians.
Barton is, at her young age, the reigning queen of Southern Tier roots music. Her sweet, smoky vocals and touch-perfect fiddle playing with groups like Big Leg Emma, the Steve Johnson Band, and with Ward have long been a favorite of many fans.
The Midweek Vespers is a weekly music and arts-based worship service with a minimum of spoken word. It is presented every Wednesday in Hurlbut Church, Pratt at Scott avenues. Faith Weaver, a children's supervised bible experience, is provided separately during the service. The community is welcome, free of charge, to each service and dinner. Donations are graciously accepted. For information, visit www.hurlbutchurch.org or call 357-4045.