‘Songs of the Spirit’ showcase Rindt’s sacred compositions

‘Songs of the Spirit’ showcase  Rindt’s sacred compositionsBy REBECCA NEIPP

News Review Staff Writer

“Songs of the Spirit,” coming to the United Methodist Church on Saturday, Feb. 22, at 7 p.m., will feature sacred and redemptive music from Patrick Rindt & Friends.

For the last three years, local concert-pianist-turned-composer Rindt has been quietly showcasing his “classical revival” sounds with the help of other highly gifted musical collaborators.

While followers identify a similar influence throughout his body of work, the latest concert will feature styles ranging from choral works to edgy Broadway numbers.

As the main accompanist for the Methodist congregation, Rindt will occasionally write anthems or art songs to highlight the themes of study during worship services. These have been performed by the choir, as well as soloist Amber Petersen, over the years. In response to public requests to make these songs more accessible, Rindt and Petersen decided to assemble a choir for a demo recording.

That concept grew to include other favorites from past concerts and as-yet-unveiled gems for a performance that could help raise funds for a studio session.

“In order to capture a good balance and recording of the music, it was essential to gather a small group with the ability to bring the most out of the music, while remaining few enough in number to record,” said Petersen.

This prestigious group of 10 includes Petersen herself along with Ted Fiske and David Hodgson — long-standing pillars of the musical community with decades each of performance history.

Other seasoned performers include Holly Farris, Philip Petersen (no relation), Brian Cosner and Kathryn Garcia-Cosner and Metho-dist choir staples Yihfen Chen, Paula Herr and Michael Petersen (Amber’s husband).

“The caliber of consummate singers we have in our choir, eager to share this music with audiences, is a true gift,” said Amber Petersen.

She is a frequent musical collaborator of Rindt’s, having performed the 2017 debut of his “Aunt Imogen” song cycle based on the poetry of Edwin Arlington Robinson.

Petersen will perform “Aunt Imogen” again, along with several parables Rindt composed for Methodist services.

Rindt praised Petersen’s rich mezzo-soprano sound and sensitive interpretations of his music, but also expressed appreciation for her role in pulling together and directing the choir, which will perform six anthems for “Songs of the Spirit.”

“One of the special advantages singers have over instrumentalists is the uniqueness of every human voice,” said Rindt.

However, that becomes almost a disadvantage in a choral setting, when you are trying to blend voices into a cohesive and beautiful sound.

“Amber is truly a master of achieving this sound, in both in her judgment for selecting the voices in the choir and her understanding of how to fine-tune.”

As a conductor and singer, Petersen noted that working with a living composer is a mixed blessing.

“I try to make musical decisions regarding interpretation based on the poetry or the information I’ve studied about the composer,” she said. “But there is a level of comfort in knowing the composer will never hear it!”

Early on she noticed that her timidity was holding the music back. With Patrick’s promise to correct any misguided instincts, she sailed forward with more courage. “It has been a great privilege to sing and teach his music, as well as a tremendous opportunity for growth as a musician.”

Petersen said she looks forward to introducing Rindt’s breadth of musical styles and storytelling capabilities to new and returning audiences. “Music is intended to be a shared experience. I believe this music, in particular, needs to be shared — the world will be better and richer having heard it.

“This project began with our search to broaden the prospective audience. I hope we are able to achieve just that!”

Tickets are on sale, for a donation, at Cosner-Neipp. All proceeds will help pay for studio recordings of the music. For more information about the Rindt & Friends collaborators, like and follow “Patrick Rindt” on Facebook.

Pictured: Members of the “Rindt & Friends” choir are, from left, (front) Ted Fiske, Brian Cosner, Kathryn Garcia Cosner, and Yihfen Chen, and (back) David Hodgson, Philip Petersen, Michael Petersen, Holly Farris, Amber Petersen and Paula Herr. — Photo by Rebecca Neipp

Story First Published: 2020-02-07