WILLIAMS, Ariz. - St. John's Episcopal Lutheran Church is offering free Advent concerts every Sunday in December leading up to Christmas. All the concerts are at 4 p.m. each Sunday.
This year marks the sixth consecutive year that St. John's is offering this series of four concerts to the community.
"It's sort of like a Christmas gift from the church to the community," said Reverend Ann Johnson. "We bring in different forms of music, mostly classical, and they are all performed by local artists, mainly people in the Flagstaff Symphony actually."
This Sunday community members can catch the Arizona Mountain Chorale featuring singers from all over the area and northern Arizona region. Now in their third season as a group, this 20-voice vocal chamber ensemble performs traditional and historic choral repertoire composed specifically for smaller chamber choirs.
Elizabeth Elgin, principal harpist of the Flagstaff Symphony, performs Dec. 16. Johnson met Elgin during a home tour in Flagstaff at which Symphony musicians provided music for individuals touring the homes.
"Ann wants music that is prior to Christ, so I'll be performing pieces that signify the time before Jesus was born," said Elgin. "It will be Christmas music, but more about shepherds and kings, and along those lines."
Elgin has performed with the Flagstaff Symphony since 1999. She also performed with the Symphony from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s while she lived in Sedona, Ariz.
The final Sunday of Advent is Dec. 23. The featured music of the day will be traditional lessons and carols in English and Spanish. St. John's organist John Taylor along with 10 other musicians will perform.
"These traditional lessons and carols will be seven different scripture readings and special music, both vocal and instrumental," Johnson said. "There's a pianist who will play a Chopin Polonaise, a flutist who will do a Native American flute performance, vocals, violins, a cello, and more."
Taylor said the musicians will play various types of music from the 15th century up to today. He said their pieces will feature Advent music rather than traditional Christmas music.
"Advent is that period of anticipation and waiting, and there's quite a bit of music that has been composed throughout the centuries for that particular period," said Taylor. "It's coming into greater popularity at this point too."
The concerts are all expected to last approximately one hour, with a reception immediately following each one so community members are able to meet and mingle with the musicians.
St. John's Christmas Eve service is Dec. 24 at 6 p.m.
St. John's Episcopal Lutheran Church is at 202 W. Grant Ave. in Williams. More information is available at (928) 635-2781.