Joseph Caulkins will conduct the Sanctuary Choir and Handbell Choir of First Baptist Church along with members of the Southwest Florida Symphony in a presentation called "Portrait of Grace" on Good Friday, April 2, at 7 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Fort Myers, 1735 Jackson Street.
Also featured will be soloists Jeana Malone, Michelle Caulkins, Vincent Gonzalez, and Rev. Dr. William Smith, former pastor at First Baptist Church, who will serve as narrator for this new cantata.
"From poets and painters to singers and sculptors, the human spirit has always sought to convey through artistic expression the richness of faith," Caulkins said.
Joseph M. Martin's new cantata, "Portrait of Grace," was inspired by centuries of art based on Christ's passion. In addition to the cantata, the professional orchestra will perform several selections as well as the First Baptist Ringers handbell choir.
Baritone Vincent Gonzalez will join the choir for Lloyd Larson's "Calvary," Jeana Malone will sing the popular "Via Dolorosa," and Michelle Caulkins will perform the dramatic conclusion of Martin's "Portrait of Grace," the "Pieta."
Following the cantata, Pastor John Daugherty will lead a short service of Tenebrae, which is Latin for shadows. This is an ancient service in which candles are extinguished one by one until all candles are out as soloist Anthony Contino, Choir, and Orchestra present Berthier's "All You Who Pass This Way." The purpose of the service is to recreate the betrayal, abandonment, and agony of the events, and it is left unfinished, because the story isn't over until Easter Day.
Caulkins, Associate Conductor of the Southwest Florida Symphony and Minister of Music & Worship, said, "This is a wonderful opportunity to come and see the exciting transformation that is happening at First Baptist. I know you will find the concert meaningful and the music inspirational."
First Baptist Church of Fort Myers is one of the area's oldest churches and was founded in 1892. The church is located at 1735 Jackson Street in the downtown River District. Services are offered at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays with Bible Study at 9 a.m., and at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.