HOLLIDAYSBURG - The Academy of Sacred Music's 10th Choral Institute and Concert will be dedicated to the memory of the Rev. Paul E. Turnbull, who died May 15.
The concert of sacred music featuring Ludwig van Beethoven's "Mass in C" will be held at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. Admission is $5.
Turnbull was a Catholic priest who served eight parishes throughout his life, including three in the Altoona area. He sang bass in the academy's choir and served on the academy's board of directors from 2001-09, including a stint as president.
He also accompanied the Cathedral Choir on the organ for performances at the Cathedral and in Europe.
Maestro Robert Long, co-founder and director of music for the institute, said Turnbull was looking forward to singing with the choir this year. He especially enjoyed singing two songs last year: Aaron Copeland's "At the River" and "How Can I Keep from Singing?"
The songs will be repeated at this year's concert in honor of him.
Although Turnbull was considered a wonderful pastor by his parishioners, his avocation was music, Long said.
He said Turnbull attended the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University several times and he had a good voice as well as being a talented organist.
He started playing the 1931 Steinmeyer Pipe Organ at the Cathedral when he was in fourth grade, Long said, adding that it is appropriate that the concert is being performed in Turnbull's home parish.
"He was so much a part of the music community," Long said.
Nicholas Will, director of music at the Cathedral, will begin the tribute with a prelude of selections on the organ.
Long and the Choral Institute Choir will present Beethoven's "Mass in C."
"It's a great piece of music," Long said. He said it is as much a masterpiece as Beethoven's Fifth or Ninth symphonies.
The purpose of the institute is to challenge choir directors and singers during three days of instruction at St. John the Evangelist Church in Lakemont and to give them an opportunity to sing with a pipe organ.
This year's choir also will be accompanied by a chamber orchestra.
The shorter selections, such as "The Old 100th," "At the River," and "Sine Nomine" are songs that the choir directors can take back to their churches to perform.
Long said the institute's choir consists of about 50 members and have been solid for the last few years.
Formerly of Hollidaysburg, Long is director of music at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Chatham, N.J., and of the Ars Musica Chorale in northern New Jersey. He lives in East Stroudsburg.
He said he looks forward to the institute every year. It gives him an opportunity to visit with family and friends.
In addition to the choir, four soloists will participate in the Beethoven piece. They are:
-- Jan Wilson, mezzo soprano and former executive director of the Altoona Symphony Orchestra, has performed solo engagements with numerous orchestras.
-- James White, bass-baritone and instructor at Penn State Altoona.
-- Katherine Harris, soprano, has performed as a soloist with the New York Grand Opera and Western Opera Theater.
-- Richard Kennedy, tenor, has performed with the Boston Symphony and has been a soloist with the Mantovani Orchestra and the Bach Choir of Pittsburgh.