Of hymns and psalms

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Sanctuary opens church doors to local musicians

The St. David’s Music Series is the result of a local church looking to reach out more to the city and the local musicians who attend worship services at the small and pretty Episcopal church, with its brick walls, lush red carpeted aisle and stained glass.

The desire to start a no-fuss, no-muss music series at the church had been around for a while, said bass player and church member Andy Odom, who organized the series with Denton musicians Dave Sims and Eric Pulido.

“It’s this small church tucked away in a little neighborhood,” Odom said. “I drove past it all the time while I was going to school.”

Odom had been a lifelong Baptist and a praise and worship team musician when he visited the Church of St. David of Wales. He said he was struck by the space as soon as he walked in.

“It just felt different. From the minute you walked in, it just felt different,” Odom said.

He eventually joined the church and enjoyed the way the Episcopal liturgy is moved along by music. The sanctuary seats about 250, so even the parishioners who prefer the anonymity of the back row can hear all the tones and colors of worship.

Texas Woman’s University music faculty member and concert flutist Pamela Youngblood is the music minister at the church, and the small choir attends to its music with seriousness.

“That’s one of the things that drew me in,” Odom said. “The musicians really mean it when they’re in a service. It’s a small group of musicians, but it’s really, really good. And that’s one of the things we wanted to do with this series. We wanted the authenticity, the sincerity.”

Church officials had wanted to reach out beyond the sanctuary walls, too. The church has been a presence at a few local festivals, meeting people and raising money and awareness for the missions it serves.

The first concert was in 2006, with local stars Sarah Jaffe and Seryn performing in the church. A few months ago, Denton artist Doug Burr performed at the church with Dallas-Denton act Fox and the Bird. Chambers, a Denton act that stitches pop-rock into a folksy, steampunk corset, has also taken a turn in the sanctuary at St. David of Wales.

“It’s a perfect space for acoustic sets,” Odom said. “The space dictates the music, to some extent. When you perform in a space like that, you get the guitar tuned up. You’re careful because the audience can hear just about everything.”

On Friday, Robert Gomez will perform his chamber pop tunes, and Bethan will follow up with its lector-folk music (which sometimes includes a musical saw). Dallas quartet Dark Rooms will perform its tightrope act of ethereal, airy electronic music shaken with a shot of stormy, metal-inspired urgency.

“Across the board, the artists have loved it,” Odom said. “Ryan Thomas Becker performed some of his music there, and we thanked him as he was leaving. He kind of stopped and said, ‘Thanks. This was amazing.’”

After Friday night’s concert, the series will probably go dark until January. The last two months of the year bring the Advent season — the four weeks leading up to Christmas.

Acts interested in performing in the space can learn more by visiting the St. David’s Music Series Facebook page at www.facebook.com/StDavidsMusicSeries.

LUCINDA BREEDING can be reached at 940-566-6877.


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