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Concert showcases pipe organ music
Event Sunday at Cumming First UMC
Williford WEB

If you’re going

Cumming First United Methodist Church, 770 Canton Hwy., will present organist Thomas Williford in concert at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. The event is free and open to the public.

Cumming First United Methodist Church will welcome “a rising star” of pipe organ music this weekend.

John Hutchinson, the church’s director of music and arts, said the church will present a free concert by Thomas Williford at 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

Williford, a native of Lawrenceville and student at Mercer University, serves as the director of music at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Macon.

“He’s been there for two years. He’s just about to turn 20, so he’s off to a good start for sure,” said Hutchinson, who added he has known Williford since he was in high school when Hutchinson heard his senior recital.

“He’s kind of an up-and-coming, rising star and we always try to feature the rising stars [at Cumming First UMC] when we find them,” Hutchinson said. “I was very impressed with his skill and his musicianship and thought, ‘Now here’s somebody that we need to watch because he’s going places.’”

Williford’s performance Sunday will include pieces from classic composers such as Bach, Franck and Vierne.

Hutchinson said a highlight will be “God Our Righteousness” for organ and classical guitar.

“He’s sharing the stage with Greg Shivers, a classical guitarist who is also a fairly young man,” Hutchinson said. “That will be something of interest for people for sure.”

The concert will last about an hour, and Hutchinson said should help people see the pipe organ in a new light.

“One of things they’ll see right off is that the organ is still a young person’s instrument,” he said. “It’s not just for your grandmother. It’s for the young as well, and Thomas is carrying the banner forward.”

The concert is one of several that the church offers throughout the year for the public.

It also provides a weeklong arts festival each spring with galleries of work from student and professional artists, as well as numerous concerts.

Celebrating the arts in all forms is important for the church leaders, Hutchinson said.

“The church has always been at the forefront of promoting the arts and celebrating the arts and we want to continue that long tradition here at First Methodist,” he said. “We want to do what we can to encourage people of all ages, not only those performing, but also those who would have the opportunity to experience something they wouldn’t normally get to.

“We’re very grateful to have a wonderful facility … that allows us to do these sorts of things.”