Melodies, harmonies and rhythms that evoke Cuban salsa, a South African anti-apartheid song, medieval European plainchant, influences of African American and Native American music put to use by a Bohemian composer, a German mass and much more will be presented by voices and instruments during “Music of the Sphere,” on Sunday, Oct. 6, at 3 p.m., in the historic Yankton United Church of Christ (Congregational) sanctuary at Fifth and Walnut.

The Yankton UCC Adult Choir and their special guest, Steel Groove, the University of South Dakota Caribbean steel drum band, as well as other instrumentalists, will provide an hour-long musical trip around this beautiful planet.

The program will open with famed British composer John Rutter’s “For the Beauty of the Earth” and close with a dramatic, more traditional setting of the same words, by American Mark Hayes. In between, concertgoers will hear German, Spanish, Swahili and Zulu — and the sounds of children singing, and the playing of steel drums, other percussion, violin and cello.

Jennifer and Ted Powell, the church’s directors of music, have spent months choosing repertoire, rehearsing the choir and making arrangements for guest instrumentalists. Jennifer said recently, “The presence of Steel Groove, under the direction of Dr. Darin Wadley of the University of South Dakota, guarantees this will be a concert like no other we’ve ever presented!” As part of the musical afternoon, Steel Groove will perform two pieces of their own.

Also accompanying the choir will be two string players. Renee Santos, a home-schooled senior from Sioux City, is a winner of MTNA awards in violin and piano and the Young Artist Competition of Orchestra Omaha. She has soloed with numerous area symphonies and performs with her siblings as the ensemble Forte.

 Cellist Vaughan Hennen of Madison is digital design and access librarian at Dakota State University, and a longtime string teacher in both public schools and through the Suzuki Association of the Americas. A graduate of Indiana University, Bloomington, he specialized in music and art librarianship while earning dual masters degrees in library science and information science.

A children’s duet from the Yankton UCC will also participate in one piece. Margaret and Willa Reimler are both members of the Vermillion Children’s Choir.

The public is invited to this program of music in celebration of the earth. No admission will be charged, though a freewill offering to defray expenses will be gathered. The church is fully accessible through its elevator entrance.

For more information, contact the church office (; 605-665-7320) or visit the Yankton UCC website (

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