“ANGLICAN WORDS and MUSIC:
CELEBRATING R. S. THOMAS (1913-2000), PRIEST and POET”
All Saints' South Room
12 noon Light Lunch
12:30 - 1:45 Gordon Graham: 'The Anglican Tradition of Poetry', and overview with readings from the great Anglican poets, and
recordings of R. S. Thomas reading his poems
1:45 - 2:30 Conversations on poetry, facitiltated by Elly Sparks Brown
2:30 - 2:45 Coffee break
2:45 - 3:45 John McEllhenny: 'R. S. Thomas as I knew him'
3:30 - 4:15 Jane Brady: Reflection on Thomas and his poetry
All Saints' Sanctuary
4:30 - 5:30 Choral Evensong, All Saints Choir, Director Tom Colao
Versicles and Responses
Anthem: Paul Mealor 'Anthem for St. David of Wales' (World premier)
5:30 Wine reception
Jane T. Brady
Jane T. Brady’s encounter with the writing of R.S. Thomas began during a month at Gladstone’s Library in Wales (Great Britain’s only prime ministerial library). In subsequent trips, she has visited three of the churches where R.S. Thomas served and engaged in conversations with people who knew him. Brady is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania (B.A. in history) and Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Div. & Th.M.). Since 2007, she has served as Rector of Grace Episcopal Church, Pemberton NJ. Her prior career with the NJ Audubon Society has given her insight into R.S. Thomas’s love of birds and sense of place.
Elly Sparks Brown
Elly Sparks Brown is the former rector of historic Trinity Parish in Southern Maryland, the Diocese of Washington, D.C. She has also taught in the Literature Department of The American University in D.C. and the honors program at The University of Maryland, College Park, MD. Elly holds a M.Div. from Virginia Theological Seminary, Alexandra, VA, a M.A. in English from The Catholic University of America, D.C., and a B.A. in English from Seton Hill University, Greensburg, PA., and earned an interdisciplinary Doctor of Ministry degree in theology, literature and visual art at Wesley Theological Seminary in D.C in 1991. She later served the Seminary for three years under a Luce grant as Administrative Director of the Center for the Arts and Religion. She is passionately interested in the relationship between the arts and spirituality. Currently Vicar of Christ Church in Palmyra, NJ and visiting Professor of English at Rider University, she also leads adult forums, retreats and quiet days around the arts and spirituality .
Tom Colao has been Director of Music at All Saints' Episcopal Church Princeton since in 2010. He attended the Mannes College of Music in Manhattan, studying voice and choral conducting, before transferring to Westminster Choir College to pursue studies in organ and sacred music. While at Westminster, he sang as a member of Westminster Choir in addition to performances with the Choir as both a tenor and organ soloist. Prior to coming to All Saints’, Tom was Director of Music and Organist at St. James’ Church, Long Branch, NJ, where he conducted a professional choir and provided organ accompaniment for choral services on the church’s vintage three-manual pipe organ, and initiated the “Music at St. James” concert series. He maintains an active schedule as an accompanist, vocal coach, freelance conductor and recitalist, and has composed several liturgical and concert works for choir.
Gordon Graham is Henry Luce II Professor of Philosophy and the Arts at Princeton Theological Seminary and an Anglican Priest. He has published extensively on the subject of religion and the arts, and his books include Philosophy of the Arts (Routledge, third edition 2005) and The Re-enchantment of the World: art versus religion (Oxford UP 2007, pb 2010). He has published plays and anthems on Christian themes, and is a regular columnist the Episcopal Journal.
John G. McEllhenney is a graduate of Franklin and Marshall College and the Theological School of Drew University, and has an honorary doctor of divinity degree from Albright College. A United Methodist pastor, he started to read the poetry of R. S. Thomas in the early 1970s. A decade later, he began gathering first and limited editions of Thomas’s works, along with periodicals containing his poems and secondary sources. McEllhenney’s Thomas collection is now part of the Special Collections of Drew University’s Library; an online catalog is accessible. McEllhenney visited Thomas in Wales in 1992, 1993, and 1994, and corresponded with him from 1991 until Thomas died, in 2000. He drew upon those personal contacts and his study of Thomas’s poems to write A Masterwork of Doubting-Belief: R. S. Thomas and His Poetry, which was published by Wipf & Stock in February 2013.