San Antonio's First Presbyterian Church is known for its expansive music programs. Now, an event is set to honor former member Bess Hieronymus, who was also known as an accomplished music teacher and organ virtuoso.
"She had an international reputation," said John Silantien, director of choral activities at UTSA. "She would bring organ virtuosos down here and they would play duets together on the organ at UTSA."
Silantien knew Bess, and gives us a snapshot of the event planned at the downtown church on Sunday the Oct. 27.
"It’s going to be a very special day," Silantien said. "Bess Hieronymus is going to be remembered on that day by we at the UTSA Department of Music. My concert choir is going to sing, Tom Dooling is the director of music at First Presbyterian and his choir is going to sing, Jae Ha is the organist at First Presbyterian and he’s going to play some virtuoso pieces that Bess loved, and our own organist at UTSA David Eaton is going to play some pieces as well."
Asked about the difference between instrumentals and choral music, Silantien answered:
"All instruments try to emulate the voice," he said. "The best violinist and the best pianist try to make their instruments sing like like a voice does."
The organists and two choirs will be singing songs to honor Bess Hieronymus, who passed away in 2008. The public is invited to the 3 p.m. service.