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Sprituality for Heathens: the Church of Beethoven, Albuquerque

 
 
Thomas
 
Reply Sat 15 Nov, 2008 09:17 am
A few minutes ago, I heard a story on NPR about what sounds like an intriguing institution indeed: The Church of Beethoven in Albuquerque.

The story must have begun about a year ago, when cellist Felix Wurman felt that something was missing. Like many classical musicians, he would often play "church jobs" on Sundays, and would admire the tradition of people gathering in a beautiful place every week to make and listen to music. But he didn't have such a place for himself, since he wasn't religious.

So Wurman remodeled an abandoned gas station on Route 66 into a concert hall, or community center, whichever you prefer. Now, a community of music-worshipers congregates there weekly for the church's Sunday morning services. They are organized just as traditional religious services are: as a variety show. There are performances, poetry readings, silence, and community singing. At the end, the church passes a hat around -- in contrast to conventional concerts, there are no tickets and no entry fees -- and everyone gets on their way.

Have any of our Albuquerque friends heard of the Church of Beethoven? Have you been there? What is it like? If reality comes even close to the NPR story, I wish every city had one.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 9 • Views: 4,594 • Replies: 22
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BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Sat 15 Nov, 2008 09:27 am
@Thomas,
Thanks, Thomas. What a great idea! I just e-mailed your information to all my Albuquerque friends. I'm really interested in visiting as I had to give up my season tickets to the Albuquerque Symphony last year.

BBB
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 15 Nov, 2008 09:31 am
@Thomas,
Haven't heard of it - but now I have. Thanks, Thomas!
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sat 15 Nov, 2008 10:07 am
I just found the NPR story, which contains further information.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=97010881
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Sat 15 Nov, 2008 10:15 am
The Church of Beethoven is well known in music circles here--especially to supporters of the Albuquerque Symphony Orchestra--and has been pretty widely featured locally:
http://www.churchofbeethoven.org/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/cindylogo.jpg

THE CHURCH OF BEETHOVEN
From the Vernacular to the Spectacular


http://media.npr.org/programs/wesat/features/2008/nov/beethovenchurch_300.jpg

"The quirkiest weekly concert series in Albuquerque."
Albuquerque the Magazine, April 2008

If you're free on Sunday mornings, love music of all kinds, enjoy great handmade coffee and tea, poetry, and the camaraderie of people with similar interests, then the NPR, District Magazine. Sunset Magazine, Alibi, Daily Lobo, Albuquerque the Magazine and Albuquerque Journal -recommended Church of Beethoven is for you! We present a one-hour program of music and poetry each Sunday morning.

On Sunday November 16 at 10:30 am David Felberg and Pamela Pyle will perform "Spiegel im Spiegel" by Arvo Part. David Schepps will play "Schelomo" by Ernest Bloch with pianist Craig Brown and Tony Hunt will read. Also, singer Sarah West returns with "Sounds of Peace".


Only in week thirty-nine we have generated an unusual amount of interest from the press and the public in general. We are very thankful for all the support we have received so far and are fully committed to providing an exciting and unique event each Sunday morning.

Our venue is The Filling Station, a converted gas station at 1024 4th St. SW in Barelas, Albuquerque, New Mexico. The historic building seats 100 and has great sight lines and acoustics. The espresso bar, by EspressoArtists, is open one hour before and after the show with a full line of espresso-based coffees and hand-bagged teas.

Please come at 9:30 am for coffee.

Call (505)307-9647 for more information.

Program for November 16, 2008 at 10:30 am
Music: “Spiegel Im Spiegel” by Arvo Part David Felberg, violin Pamela Pyle, piano
Poems: Anthony Hunt, poet
Music: "Sounds of Peace"
with singer, Sarah West
Celebration of Silence: two minutes
Poem: “The Egrets” read by Anthony Hunt
Music: “Schelomo” by Ernest Bloch David Schepps, cello Craig Brown, piano
http://www.churchofbeethoven.org/

ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 15 Nov, 2008 10:22 am
@Foxfyre,
Cool! And then one can go to Barela's for breakfast or lunch, if they're open on Sunday. (I've only been there once.)
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sat 15 Nov, 2008 06:27 pm
You guys are tempting me to revisit Albequerque. It's more than two years since I was there last time.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 15 Nov, 2008 07:43 pm
@Merry Andrew,
Now THAT'S a good idea..
0 Replies
 
realjohnboy
 
  1  
Reply Sat 15 Nov, 2008 07:55 pm
I heard the same story on NPR this morning and thought of my A2K buddies in ALB. I hope that one or more of yall could check it out and report back.
0 Replies
 
KRS
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2008 08:33 pm
@Thomas,
I am a regular attendee of Church of Beethoven. We live nearby so we bike there each Sunday. Except for when I have been out of town, I have attended since late February shortly after it began. We have been thrilled to support Felix.

Feel free to start one in your own community. It is clearly a lot of work on Felix' part but he is well connected to the musical, poetry and now more recently the scientific talent of Albuquerque.

David Sinkus is the owner of the building so it is not really abandoned and it is put to use sometimes as a small theater so sometimes the sets of a current play provides a setting. Quite recently he moved a really spectacular vintage aluminum clad house trailer on to the property. I guess we'll see what happens to that!

In addition, the location is on 1024 4th Street SW and would have been the Pre-1937 alignment of Route 66. It is 10 blocks south of Central Avenue.

KRS
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2008 08:36 pm
that sounds very cool
0 Replies
 
Diane
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2008 08:44 pm
Merry Andrew, get your a$$ out here. Everybody come out and we'll have another gathering especially to visit the Church of Beethoven.

We were actually planning on going last week, but Dys and I weren't feeling very well. This Sunday, definitely.

KRS, welcome to a2k. Maybe we will see you there without even knowing it's you.
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2008 08:52 pm
@Diane,
Maybe late winter, early spring, Diane. Right now I'm jobless and my finances are so tangled I have to think twice about taking the Blue Line to Revere Beach.
0 Replies
 
Diane
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2008 09:33 pm
We do hope you can make it whenever you have the funds. Dys and I have curtailed our travel for the year.

One of my sons, a starving artist, says he is living mostly on rice. I gently reminded him that people in his shoes with children to feed are the ones who are really hurting.
0 Replies
 
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2008 09:35 pm
@Diane,
Auntie D, iffn ya go, I want a report.

hey to the old buzzard as well...
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2008 10:02 pm
@KRS,
Welcome to A2K, KRS, and thanks for your information. I'd love to start a Greater-New York parish of the Church of Beethoven. Certainly we must have plenty of talented musicians in the neighborhood. But unlike David Sinkus, I'm a new immigrant, and not well connected to them. But I'd definitely volunteer if somebody else started one in my area.
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Nov, 2008 08:42 am
@KRS,
KRS, so pleased to learn we have another A2Ker in Albuquerque, what a lovely surprise. Maybe we can recognize each other with little A2K signs at Sunday concerts.

I live on the west side of ABQ one mile from Dys and Diane and Osso. There are two other A2Kers on the east side.

BBB
0 Replies
 
papaya31
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Dec, 2008 04:26 pm
@ossobuco,
This sounds interesting. Can you break it down for me?
What do you worship when you attend the church?
What is the community like of people that attend from week to week?
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Dec, 2008 05:05 pm
@papaya31,
It is not a church, it is a concert hall.

BBB
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Dec, 2008 06:54 pm
@papaya31,
papaya31 wrote:
What do you worship when you attend the church?

The genius of great composers and poets. The community is the kind of people who is "free on Sunday mornings", as the founder put it. Agnostic art enthusiasts, I suspect. You can get an impression by searching for "Church of Beethoven" on YouTube.

But you ask a good question, papaya: Have any of our Albuquerqueans had a chance to go yet? Don't make me come here and check it out myself, guys!
 

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