World-renowned cantor, teacher, author and recording artist Joe Simmons, who was psalmist for the 2008 Papal Mass at New York's Yankee Stadium, will present a concert of contemporary and traditional spiritual songs on Friday, September 23, at 7 p.m. at Blessed Sacrament Church in Wintersville. No reservations are necessary for the concert, which is open to the general public. Admission will be charged at the door.
Simmons currently serves as principal cantor at St. John the Baptist Church in New York City and as associate music director for "The Sunday Mass," telecast weekly on ABC's Family Channel.
The concert will kick-off a weekend of workshops for cantors and lectors (lay readers of Sacred Scripture) at Blessed Sacrament, sponsored by the Wintersville Parishes of Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady of Lourdes. According to Msgr. Kurt Kemo, pastor of the two parishes, the workshops are open to those who exercise the cantor and lector ministries currently, choir members and other singers, as well as those interested in the ministries.
Msgr. Kemo said, "We are pleased to sponsor the visit of such a fine musician as Joe Simmons to the Ohio Valley." Msgr. Kemo said Simmons' concert should have an appeal to all Christians, not only Catholics. "Joe Simmons is a man whose music transcends any denominational lines, with his CDs being used in healing services for people of many faiths." The CDs, "Sudden Waves" and "Singing Out," will be available for purchase at the concert.
The concert itself will consist of a mix of contemporary and traditional spiritual songs in what Simmons himself describes as "a concert of inspirational music." Simmons will be accompanied by his musical director, pianist David Jeske.
Simmons has performed off-Broadway and at Lincoln Center in New York, as well as internationally, and presents concerts throughout North America. A former New York University faculty member, Simmons is a frequent presenter for the National Association of Pastoral Musicians, and serves on its Cantor Express Institute faculty. Simmons is the author of two books: "The Work of the Cantor" and co-author of "Cantor Basics" with James Hansen and Melanie Coddington
Further information about Joe Simmons and his weekend at the Wintersville Parishes is available at the parishes' website, , under the heading "Joe Simmons Workshop," or by calling the parishes' rectory at (740) 264-0868.