As part of their free Second Sunday Concert Series, North Salt Lake is hosting a Thanksgiving Interfaith Hymn Festival on Nov. 13 at 6 p.m. at the LDS chapel at 261 E. Center St., North Salt Lake. Community members and church choirs from throughout the area are welcome to come sing well-known Thanksgiving hymns together.
“It’s a really nice thing to do before Christmas,” said Scott Rowley, music director at Church of the Resurrection in Centerville. “It’s really great to be able to get together and sing familiar hymns.”
The festival will focus on Thanksgiving classics pulled from several different faiths, including “Now We All Thank Our God” and “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” Hymn texts will be provided for all songs. Rowley will serve as organist for the evening, and North Salt Lake City Council member Matt Jensen will be the emcee.
“Even in these tough economic times, gratitude is something we can all get behind,” said Rep. Becky Edwards, who helped organize the event.
Several local churches are already planning to participate, including Church of the Resurrection, North Salt Lake’s Abundant Life Church, and Bountiful’s Grace Lutheran Church, St. Olaf Catholic Church, Bountiful Heights Church, Bountiful Community Church, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Any others who would like to participate simply need to show up at the festival, either individually or en masse.
“It’s really beneficial for people of different faiths to get together and learn they’re not the only kids on the block,” said Rowley.
The festival was inspired by the long-standing Interfaith Festival of Hymns that used to be held down in the Assembly Hall at Temple Square in Salt Lake. Though the concerts moved to Sandy a few years ago – the Salt Lake chapter of the American Guild of Organists, who used to sponsor the event, had a leadership change – Edwards still remembers them fondly.
“They had these churches come together in a very non threatening, unifying way,” she said. “It was wonderful.”
Rowley used to be involved in organizing the Temple Square concerts, and Edwards approached him about resurrecting the experience in North Salt Lake.
“She wanted to recreate it,” he said. “The intent is that this will hopefully be an ongoing kind of thing, and can take the place of what had been down there.”
Whether or not that happens, North Salt Lake is throwing open its doors on Nov. 13.
“It’s kind of a big deal,” said Edwards. “If we could have a lot of people come, that would be great.”