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Apollo’s Fire will perform “Sugarloaf Mountain: An Appalachian Gathering” at the Federated Church of Chagrin Falls on Jan. 24 at 7:30 p.m., founded by Director Jeannette Sorrell. Musicians of the Sugarloaf Mountain suite are, from left, Brian Kay, René Schiffer, Kathie Stewart, Tina Bergmann, Ms. Sorrell, Susanna Perry Gilmore and singers Amanda Powell and Ross Hauck.

The Federated Church of Chagrin Falls celebrated its 100th year of spiritual service to the community in 2019, but the congregation has extended the celebration to pay tribute to a mission that has long been an important part of its mission – music.

It is fitting then that the leadership has chosen to present a series of concerts in 2020, beginning Jan. 24 at 7:30 p.m. in the church’s Bell Street sanctuary with Cleveland’s own and internationally celebrated Baroque and Renaissance music organization “Apollo’s Fire” in concert with its Sugarloaf Mountain suite, created and directed by founder Jeannette Sorrell.

The music was inspired by a physical place in the Shenandoah Mountains near where Ms. Sorrell grew up, and Sugarloaf Mountain is a compilation of music and stories from Appalachia and its Irish and Scottish settlers.

The music finds its roots in the folk tradition of America and is both dark and lighthearted. Ms.Sorrell created “Sugarloaf Mountain: An Appalachian Gathering” in 2014, which was released on CD in 2015 and debuted at No. 5 on Billboard. 

Winning rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic, the CD was praised as “music that asks questions about life and death, and bores into the American national psyche at visceral and emotional levels… profoundly spontaneous” (Gramophone).

The program will feature soloists Amanda Powell and Ross Hauck.

A soprano, Ms. Powell has been praised for her “abundant vocal technique and infectious spirit” (ClevelandClassical.com) and enjoys a diverse career in the realms of classical, folk and jazz. She holds a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from Shenandoah Conservatory and a certificate in jazz improvisation from the Jazz in July Institute (University of Massachusetts).

Mr. Hauck, tenor, grew up in Ohio, but currently lives in Seattle with his wife and four children. He specializes in early music, sacred oratorio and premieres of new works. A regular with Apollo’s Fire, Mr. Hauck has been heard as a soloist in Messiah as Tamino in The Magic Flute among others.

A Billboard Top 10 classical recording group, Apollo’s Fire Sugarloaf Mountain has toured New York City, performed at the National Gallery in Washington D.C. and before Pittsburgh’s Renaissance and Baroque Society as well as performing at colleges and universities up and down the east coast.

The Federated Church’s own music ministry includes a full complement of types and kinds of choirs beginning with its large Federated Choir, Rise to Shine Band, the Bell Choir, Children’s Choir and Leap of Faith, a liturgical dance group.

A reception will follow the concert. Tickets are $35 in advance, $45 at the door, $60 premium seating front of the house and $15 for students. Call 440-247-6490. The church sanctuary is located at 36 Bell St., in Chagrin Falls. Future concerts in the series are yet to be announced.

A veteran reporter and columnist, Barbara Christian has been covering Chagrin Falls since 1967 and is currently responsible for Chagrin Falls village events, government and school board news along with her weekly column "Window on Main Street."

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