Distinguished group to lead meditations at Holy Week performance in RockefellerBy Arthur Fournier
The annual Holy Week performance of Franz Joseph Haydns The Seven Last Words of Christ will be held Wednesday, April 19, in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel. This annual musical production based on the last spoken words of the crucified Jesus is performed by the world-renowned Vermeer String Quartet and includes meditations from prominent scholars, pastors and community leaders.
Through international tours and worldwide broadcasts of its Grammy-nominated CD, the Vermeer String Quartet has become closely associated with Haydns work.
Composed in 1786, The Seven Last Words of Christ was first presented on Good Friday in 1787 in Cadiz, Spain. The works seven main sections each were prefaced by brief spoken-word homilies delivered by the bishop of Cadiz.
Continuing the 213-year-old tradition, this years presentation will feature a diverse group of speakers, including the Rev. Gregory Dell, a United Methodist Church minister of 29 years, and the Rev. James Meeks, senior pastor of the 9,000-member Salem Baptist Church on Chicagos far South Side. Dell, until recently the pastor of Broadway United Methodist Church, received national attention this past year for conducting a service of Holy Union for two homosexual menan action that resulted in the suspension of his ordination credentials. In 1999, Meeks assisted the Rev. Jesse Jackson in negotiations leading to the release of three American soldiers held as prisoners of war by Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic.
Also appearing in the production are the Rev. Alison Boden, Dean of Rockefeller Memorial Chapel; Jean Bethke Elshtain, the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor in the Divinity School; the Rev. Andrew M. Greeley, renowned author and Research Associate at the National Opinion Research Center; Stan Guthrie, managing editor for the Evangelism and Missions Information Service of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College; Martin Marty, Professor Emeritus in the Divinity School and a scholar-in-residence at Chicagos Park Ridge Center for Health, Fairness and Ethics; and Barack Obama, state senator from Chicagos 13th District and Senior Lecturer in the Law School.
The performance of The Seven Last Words of Christ will begin at 8 p.m. April 19 in Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, 5850 S. Woodlawn Ave. The performance is free for children under 18 and $10 for adults.
Members of the Vermeer String Quartet will lead a discussion at 7 p.m. in the chapel. The performance will be recorded and rebroadcast on WFMT Radio (98.7 FM) on Good Friday, April 21.
For more information about special rates for groups of 10 or more, call (773) 702-7059. For other inquiries or to purchase advance tickets, call (773) 702-7300.