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Springfield parish concert series kicks off with Capital Wind Symphony

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People who go by the rectory at St. Bernadette church in Springfield might hear the smooth sounds of the baritone saxophone played by Father Richard A. Miserendino, parochial vicar. Chances are, Father Miserendino, who has played saxophone for 25 years, is rehearsing for the upcoming concert with the Capital Wind Symphony at St. Bernadette.

A Nov. 15 concert at 7:30 p.m. at the church is part of a concert series the parish is starting. 

“We are trying to build up the culture of the parish and have events that build up a community, that’s edifying for everybody involved,” said Father Miserendino. “We feel strongly it’s time for the Catholic church to reclaim support of the arts.”

Father Miserendino said the church seems to have lost that patronage.

“It used to be people more clearly saw the connection between beauty and God and now it’s not so obvious to a lot of people,” he said. “Music is a language and it’s a language that speaks in beauty. It speaks in a deep way about God.”

A great number of classical composers were church musicians, said Father Miserendino.

“Maybe we can start to think about rebuilding it a little bit,” he said. 

It was Father Miserendino who suggested the Capital Wind Symphony play a concert. When Father Miserendino was in high school he came to know Capital Wind Symphony conductor George Etheridge through his teacher who proposed he join the Capital Wind Symphony during the summers to play for the free concerts in Fairfax County parks. Father Miserendino went off to college at the University of Rochester and Eastman School of Music, pursuing degrees in physics, math and music performance. He’d rejoin the band for summer concerts.

He started playing baritone saxophone in a college quartet and after graduation joined Capital Wind Symphony as a regular baritone saxophone player. He played with his quartet and the Capital Wind Symphony until entering the seminary in 2009.

The Capital Wind Symphony is a group of around 60 professional musicians from around the area, most are in the military bands in Washington. The program for the concert includes works by Bernstein, Gershwin, Milhaud and others. 

“St. Bernadette is a beautiful space,” said Capital Wind Symphony Conductor George Etheridge. “We feel strongly about getting concerts out into the public.”

David Mathers, director of music ministries at St. Bernadette, said the concert series is a way for the parish to attract the larger community.

“We are opening our doors to the community, so they feel a sense of welcome,” he said. “We get to know them, too. It’s an evangelization opportunity and a widening of our own experience.”

The concert series will include Advent Lessons and Carols Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m. 

If you go

St. Bernadette Church, 7600 Old Keene Mill Rd, Springfield, Nov. 15, 7:30 p.m.

Go to capitalwindsymphony.org to find out about Capital Wind Symphony.  



© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019