Masterworks concert weaves music, story and art in a program for all ages

The Old Turtle

Hesston College choirs will be joined by vocalists from the community and professional orchestra for Hesston College’s annual masterworks performance on Saturday, November 16 at Hesston Mennonite Church. The 2019 concert features “Song of Wisdom” from Old Turtle, a choral and orchestra setting that combines narration and music.

A family program especially suited to children will be from 4:15 to 5 p.m., and the full program will be at 7 p.m. Admission is free. A free-will offering will be collected to help offset program costs.

Based on the children’s book by Douglas Wood (1992), “Song of Wisdom” combines narration and music as it illustrates a story of a disagreement between God’s creation about the nature of God. Mountains, rivers, stars, ants, lions and bears break into argument until the wise Old Turtle brings a new perspective, stating, “God is all that we dream of, and all that we seek…all that we come from and all that we can find.”

Once humans inhabit the earth, they also begin quarreling and lose sight of God. It is then up to all of creation to show them God’s presence.

The musical telling of the story will be paired with story narration by Hesston College faculty emeritus Jim Yoder and illustrations by artist Cheng-Khee Chee from the original book projected in on-screen accompaniment.

In addition to the “Song of Wisdom” feature, the evening concert will include Handel’s Organ Concerto in B-Flat Major performed with orchestra and Hesston music professor Ken Rodgers on the organ. The finale includes the audience singing the hymn “O Day of Peace” to the tune of “Jerusalem” by Sir Charles Hubert Parry with the orchestration by Edward Elgar, made famous from the closing ceremony of the BBC Proms.