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Dreaming in sacred spaces

Plans don’t always work out as you want, but sometimes they work out better than you can imagine. That is the case for Knoxville Handel Society, which is in rehearsal for Haydn’s Creation, to be performed in the recently completed Cathedral of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus on Sunday, April 29 at 7:00PM. This performance will be the first in Sacred Heart’s 2018 Cathedral Concert Series, which supports the arts by providing opportunities for local, regional, national and international music ensembles to perform sacred and classical musical works for the community. That goal aligns perfectly with the purpose of Knoxville Handel Society: to perform choral masterworks and promote Choral Art.

Wendell Boertje and Don King, co-Music Directors of KHS, met 3 days after the fall concert in November. Their express purpose was to consider where The Creation would be performed. The intended venue had become unavailable and a new venue was needed. This was a big work, about a very big event, the creation of the world! Wendell was to be conductor of this performance. He felt it needed to happen in a sacred space, ideally within a cathedral—but where? Don remembered a conversation from 2016 in the formative stages of Knoxville Handel Society, when a friend casually related how he had been asked to consult on community arts involvement in the Cathedral Concert Series.

The wheels began to turn, pondering if the new cathedral might be completed by late April 2018, which was the planned concert date. Some inquiries were made, introductions were arranged, and the first meeting occurred in early December between Don King, Father David Boatner and Glenn Kahler, Director of Music and Liturgy. What a watershed moment that was! Father Boatner and Glenn listened to our vision with openness, anticipation and warmth. Excitement about the possibility gained strength. Don could hardly wait to share with Wendell. This was a blessing beyond our imaginations!

As the months and weeks have unfolded, the relationship between Sacred Heart and Knoxville Handel Society has grown. The staff’s willingness to facilitate, coordinate and support has been unparalleled. The entire team of Sacred Heart has welcomed KHS and made the journey to Creation a blessing. Knoxville Handel Society eagerly anticipates the opportunity to stand under the dome and raise our voices to the Creator. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain!

For a glimpse of the cathedral, watch this brief video by Father David Boatner https://www.facebook.com/SacredHeartCathedralKnoxvilletn/videos/1920184058013566/.