While the season of Lent is a time of fasting, it can also be a time of feasting.
Why not fast from our digitized, electrified, constantly distracting world and feast on simple, natural beauty? No cell phones, no light shows, no jumbo screens, no choreographed dance teams, no amplifiers.
Try the annual Lenten Recital Series, one of Bakersfield’s hidden gems, which begins Thursday at 12:15 p.m. with a concert by the Tea Rose String Quartet, performing a short program of mostly sacred instrumental works: Bach’s “Sheep May Safely Graze,” “Panis Angelicus” by Cesar Franck, “Ave Verum Corpus” by Mozart, “Amazing Grace” and more.
Performed by Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra string players Julia Lawson Haney, Donna Fraser, Paulette Shires and Alex Wilson, the program is exactly the kind of respite most people need and rarely find.
First Congregational Church (FCC) is again hosting the series, which will continue on Thursdays through April 11. Organized by Elizabeth Cervantes, FCC’s collaborative artist, the performances also include sack lunches available for purchase.
Cervantes has again assembled a fine schedule of performers. Following the Tea Rose Quartet on March 21 is Brass á la Carte, a quartet featuring Michael Raney and Mickey Murray on trumpets; Ron Christian on trombone and Michael Stone on euphonium. True to its roots, the series will also include two performances of organ music: Organist Carolyn Hill from Church of the Ascension Anglican Church, and her husband, Skip, will perform and give a lecture about the pipe organ on March 28; organist Meg Wise from First Presbyterian Church will present a program of vocal and instrumental music on April 4. She will be joined by soprano Leslie Roberts, violinist Liz Kinney and oboist Charles Franz.
The series will conclude on April 11 with a recital by piano students directed by Dr. Soo-Yeon Park, professor of piano at CSUB.
Cervantes said the concerts are short — about 30 minutes — which will allow most people to attend the performance and still get back to work. You may also leave the performances feeling a lot better than when you arrived.