Concert at Utica church features 14-year-old organist


For the 48th time, First Presbyterian Church of Utica will host a choir of singers from across the Mohawk Valley and as far away as Rome in a choral concert of seasonal music.

The free concert is 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, at First Presbyterian Church, 1605 Genesee St.

The performance is led by Stephen Best, who has been First Presbyterian’s music minister since 1970, and features Bruce Smith, organist and choirmaster at Grace Church, Utica, who serves as accompanist, and 14-year-old Dominic Fiacco, an organist from the village of Poland, who will perform works by Mendelssohn and Liszt to open and close the concert.  

Singers represent multiple denominations — Presbyterian, Episcopal, Methodist, Roman Catholic, Lutheran, and others. Music ranges from the serenity of “In the Bleak Mid-Winter” by British composer Harold Darke to the lively, almost raucous “Way Down Yonder in Bethlehem.”

The choir ends the concert with “Star-Child,” its theme song, in which New Zealand poet Shirley Erena Murray expresses the poignant hope that this year the day may arrive “when Christmas comes for everyone alive.”


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