During the next three Sundays, while the Brainerd Presbyterian Church Choir takes their summer break, the church will host three outstanding musical soloists.
Jay Craven, local music celebrity will play his clarinet for the 10:45 service on July 28. Mr. Craven has enjoyed a long and diversified career in music in Chattanooga. Beginning in 1948, he played with the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra for 50 years. From 1953 to 1986 he served in several capacities in Chattanooga music education through classroom teaching and supervising music. He was director of the Chattanooga Youth Orchestra a number of years. He was founder of the Chattanooga Clarinet Choir and Chattanooga Clarinet Society. Mr. Craven’s volunteer service includes 17 years with Memorial Health Care System auxiliary, board member for 12 years, president 1999-2001; has played his clarinet for patients and families at Memorial since 2000, and recorded five CDs of “Melodies from Memorial” with all proceeds benefiting the auxiliary. He and his wife Kathleen have been married for 62 years.
Carol McClure, world-renowned harpist will play for services on August 4. From her web site we read, “Carol McClure is a virtuoso harpist and concert artist, a respected and widely published composer and arranger, as well a nationally recognized teacher. A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Ms. McClure began harp study at age six, and by age eleven was a student of both Marcel Grandjany and Mildred Dilling, and a master class student of Nicanor Zabaleta. By age 14, she had won two major harp competitions, and began her international concert career at age sixteen, performing in Europe.
Audiences delight in Ms. McClure's concerts and conferences. The virtuosity, elegance and passion of her performances and arrangements express the depth of her faith, and her commitment to Christian discipline at the harp bench. An internationally acclaimed musician, Carol's career has taken her as orchestral harpist from Glasgow, Scotland to New Orleans; and, she has presented solo recitals in churches and concert halls -- from England's historic Coventry Cathedral with Sir David Willcocks to Buenos Aires, Argentina -- throughout the western hemisphere.
Ms. McClure has also emerged as a highly respected and sought-after harp pedagogue, working with students from beginning through professional level. She serves as Artistic Director of The Harp School, Inc., which serves hundreds of students from around the country, and stages the Summer Harp Academy every July in Kentucky.”
Mel Madaris returns to Brainerd Presbyterian as one of the church’s favorite guest musicians on August 11. The Lord blessed Mr. Madaris with the gift of singing at the age of three when he won a talent contest. Throughout the years, Mr. Madaris continued singing in churches, choirs, school performances and community functions. He was the lead singer of his family’s Gospel quartet, The Madaris Family, who has been in the music industry for two generations.
As a young adult, he sang with a group called Sweetwater opening for acts such as Ray Charles, Bill Anderson and Jerry Clower. Mr. Madaris has been heard throughout the world as a featured soloist in Ben Haden’s "Changed Lives" ministry. Under the direction of Dr. Glenn Draper, he has performed in numerous concerts throughout the southeastern United States, including at the White House in Washington, D.C. He has performed with Bill Shaw of the Blackwood Brothers and as back up singer to Larnelle Harris and Allison Durham. He has performed at numerous churches, weddings, community functions and dinners for several elected officials.
Mr. Madaris received his Bachelors of Business Administration degree from the University of Georgia in Athens and is the owner of Improve America, Inc. He and his wife, Paulina, live in Chattanooga. They have two grown children, Jeremy and Cara, a granddaughter, Reese, and a grandson, Jude. Their home church is First Presbyterian Church in Chattanooga where Mr. Madaris is in the choir.
Dr. Tom Hammett, director of Music Ministries at Brainerd Presbyterian said, “One of our greatest blessings at Brainerd Presbyterian Church is the willingness of a large number of world-class Christian musicians to share their music with us so freely. Our modest honorarium may cover their gas and a hamburger, but primarily the musicians come to celebrate and worship with our congregation. Their love of the Lord, their love of music and their desire to fellowship with Christians at every level sets them apart in a very special category. I am especially happy that Carol McClure will be with us as I have desired to have her play for us for a dozen years. Time and circumstances have finally worked out for her visit. We are extremely delighted to host Jay Craven, Carol McClure, and Mel Madaris.”
Brainerd Presbyterian Church is located at 1624 Jenkins Road, just off of E. Brainerd Road. Services begin at 10:45 a.m. For additional information, phone 899-2424.