Songs of the martyrs will highlight Anabaptist stories during performance at Bluffton
Bluffton University will host “Grace to You and Peace: Voices of the Martyrs,” by Wendy Chappell-Dick and the Anabaptist singers at 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 15 in Yoder Recital Hall.
The concert will present the direct words and hymns of Anabaptist martyrs through contemporary song settings. Just as the founders of the Mennonite faith used well-known secular tunes to share their message, Chappell-Dick uses musical genres from English folk songs to 80s Rock and Roll to give new layers of meaning to the texts from the 1500s.
“Most Mennonites have heard of the Anabaptist martyrs, the ‘Bloody Theater of Nonresistant Christians’ which founded many of our faith traditions,” explained Chappell-Dick, “but what were these mothers and fathers of our faith thinking as they went to their deaths? What were they writing, talking and singing about, to each other, and to the world?”
Chappell-Dick will use original source material translated into English to spread the meaning and the message of their lives to the audience. She has adapted more than 20 songs for the debut show at Bluffton University. Nearly a dozen Bluffton community members will join her on stage as the Anabaptist Singers.
The performance is part of a series of events that are being held in coordination with the travelling exhibit “Mirror of the Martyrs,” which will be on display from Oct. 1 – Nov. 5 in the Albrecht Gallery of Bluffton’s Sauder Visual Arts Center.
This dramatic and colorful exhibit tells the story of religious conflict and violence in the Reformation era from the perspective of Anabaptist martyrs and offers one way to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.
Gallery hours are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Saturday, 1-5 p.m. and Sunday, 1-6 p.m.
The Mirror of the Martyrs exhibit is based on illustrated martyr stories from the 1685 “Martyrs Mirror,” and features eight of the original copper plates produced by Dutch artist Jan Luyken to illustrate the book. The exhibit allows visitors to learn about Mennonite religious heritage and its application to people’s contemporary lives. The award-winning exhibit was developed and produced at the Kauffman Museum in North Newton Kansas.
For more information about additional exhibit related presentations and performances visit https://www.bluffton.edu/arts/mirror/
All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.