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Dan Kerr

Historic All Souls Church, 61 Main Street in Stony Brook Village presents monthly Saturdays at Six concerts, Second Saturdays poetry readings, and Native American Drumming to the community. Each of these programs brings its own unique mix of visitors to the Stanford White-designed national landmark chapel. Their latest event, Conversations on the Sacred on Saturday, July 6, will combine, music, poetry and drumming into one unique performance.

Local poet Carolyn Emerson selected the sacred readings for the program and assigned them to local poets. She also collaborated with Stony Brook University Director of Concerts Ford Fourqurean, All Souls organist Dan Kinney, and Native American Elder and Drummer Ric Statler on the musical interludes that follow each reading. The tracker organ at All Souls, built by Henry Erben of New York in 1854, will be part of the program, responding to readings with appropriate hymns.

One of the poets that will be reading is Suffolk County Poet Laureate Deborah Hauser. She shared “I’m grateful to All Souls Church for the invitation to join this sacred conversation and am looking forward to a transcendent evening.”

The selection of poems and religious texts includes works that are widely regarded for their technical virtuosity and lyrical beauty.  Each reading includes a specific conversation with the sacred but offers at the same time a way into the life and sensibility of the poet. Christian and Judaic religions are in conversation with Taoism, Zen Buddhism, Islam, and the Native American tradition.

One of the poets that will be reading is Suffolk County Poet Laureate Deborah Hauser. She shared “I’m grateful to All Souls Church for the invitation to join this sacred conversation and am looking forward to a transcendent evening.”

From a Native American perspective, sacred conversations are ongoing.  This is because all life (be it two-legged, four-legged, winged, finned, slithering, crawling, plant people, earthly matter, heavenly mater) is sacred and valued. The most often missed of sacred conversation is the listening part of the conversation. Native American culture recognizes the listening to nature, wind, animals, heavens, people’s hearts, as they all have something to say.   Drummer Ric Statler states “when we listen to what God/Creator says, shows or makes us feel, we can respond from a holy place within us, and conversation becomes sacred.”

All Souls organist Dan Kinney observes “Music and poetry are often bound together in sacred conversations. This can be seen in the iconography of King David singing psalms and accompanying himself on the lyre. David is represented as a poet, composer, and musician. The organ has played a role in sacred music for centuries–witness the traditional image in art of St. Cecilia, patron saint of music, seated at the organ conversing musically with heaven.”

“Conversations on the Sacred brings together a wide variety of poetry from different cultures, ideologies, and styles and the music we pair it with will reflect so many different eras from Saint Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) to more contemporary composers like Linda Catlin Smith,” commented Fourqurean. “The audience is invited into so many different artistic sound worlds.”

The concert will begin promptly at 6 p.m. will include a 15-minute intermission and conclude by 8 p.m. The event is free. For further information please call 631-655-7798. 

Several weather-related prayers were answered when the rain stopped, and the sun shined brightly on the 15th Annual SOLES for All Souls 5K Race/2K Walk on Oct. 1. The large crowd assembled in front of the historic Stanford White designed chapel at 61 Main Street in Stony Brook Village, including runners dressed as a hot dog and a mustard container, a Bumble Bee and a butterfly, and a chicken.  Retired Suffolk County Police SGT Mark McNulty played the bagpipes to inspire the runners as they began their trek up Hollow Road.  Former Suffolk County Poet Laureates Barbara Southard and Dr. Richard Bronson led the annual march of the Live Poets Society.

After The Brave Trio sang the National Anthem, Brookhaven Town Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich thanked the runners and walkers for participating in this very special annual event to celebrate the role of All Souls in the community and to raise funds to make the church and accessible to all. He presented All Souls Senior Warden Dan Kerr with a Certificate of Appreciation from the Town of Brookhaven recognizing the many ways All Souls serves the community.

Felipe Garcia from Port Jefferson Station was the overall race winner with a time of 20:14 and Christa Denmon from Endwell, NY was the overall female winner the second year in a row with a time of 21:58.  All Souls Vicar Father Tom Reese awarded gold, silver, and bronze medals at the Olympic-style ceremony to various age groups from 13 & under to 80 years old. Emma Lehayne from Stony Brook won the gold for the female 13 and under group and Rolf Sternglanz from Stony Brook won the gold for the male 80 and over group. Local musician Bill Clark & Friends (including Councilmember Kornreich) serenaded the crowd before and after the Awards ceremony at the Reboli Center for Arts and History.

Submitted by Daniel Kerr/ Director of SOLES for All Souls

Runners take off from the starting line on Main Street in Stony Brook Village at last year's race. Photo from Dan Kerr
Registration underway for SOLES for All Souls Race

By Daniel Kerr

Historic All Souls Church has stood on the hill at the entrance to Stony Brook Village since 1896. Although much has changed in the village since then, the simple beauty of the building and the interior have remained true to Stanford White’s vision. 

Interestingly, life expectancy back then in the United States was less than 50 years, and accessibility for the elderly or handicapped was not part of the design. On Sunday, October 1st, the 15th SOLES for All Souls 5K Race/2K Walk will celebrate the role of the National Landmark chapel in the community and raise funds to make it accessible to all. 

Episcopal Bishop of Long Island Lawrence Provenzano stated, “Accessibility is an integral part of welcoming everyone in our communities into our parishes and we are proud to support this fantastic event with its goal to make All Souls a place that can truly serve everyone.” 

Three of the winners from last year’s race. Photo from Dan Kerr

Herb Mones, an All Souls Church member, and both president of the Three Village Community Trust and Land Use Chair for the Three Village Civic Association, recently observed “SOLES for All Souls is vital to raising the necessary funds for our accessibility project. I am hoping that the entire running and walking community turns out to support our efforts.” 

Richard Bronson, MD, former Suffolk County Poet Laureate, remarks, “How many times have I entered All Souls Church, felt its sanctity, marveled at its quiet beauty while listening to recited verse at the Second Saturday Poetry Reading? How can one not wish to participate in the SOLES for All Souls Race/Walk, an event that will raise funds to make this treasure accessible to all…and it is good for one’s health.”

SOLES For All Souls is perhaps the most inclusive race/walk on Long Island.  Serious runners compete for gold, bronze, and silver medals in age groups from under 13 to over 80 and receive their hard-won medals in an Olympic-style awards ceremony. Dogs are welcome to accompany their masters and students from Stony Brook University and others often come in costume. Senior citizens with walking sticks line up at the starting line along with parents pushing their kids in strollers. 

Looking back on last year’s race, East Patchogue resident and Overall Winner Adam Lindsey commented, “I love the opportunity to run in Stony Brook Village. The hills are the right amount of challenging yet very fun with lovely scenery. All Souls is such an integral part of Stony Brook Village, and it is a joy to run in a race to support them.” 

Port Jefferson Station resident Margaret Kennedy shared, “I look forward to this race every year, eager to see familiar faces and the creative costumes. The matched pair of peanut butter and jelly comes to mind. It is the camaraderie and fellowship that keeps us coming back to collect a new color in our t-shirt rainbow. Everyone is welcome, whether running up the challenging hill or walking with a team. This race is truly a labor of love.” 

The event is also a food drive for St. Gerard Majella’s food pantry. Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine encourages runners and walkers to feed the hungry: “I am proud to support the SOLES for All Souls and I urge everyone to donate to the ‘Lend a Hand, Bring a Can’ food drive. There are so many of our less fortunate neighbors who experience food insecurity and they rely on donations to feed themselves and their families. If we all chip in and do our part, we can help so many people in need and make a real difference in our community.”     

Registration for SOLES for All Souls 5K Run/2K Walk is through the ACTIVE.COM website (Search: SOLES for All Souls) or register on Race Day at the Reboli Center for Art & History, 64 Main St., Stony Brook from 7:30 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.; the race/walk begins at 9 a.m. Complimentary pre and post event stretching will be provided by Progressive Personal Training.  Local musician Bill Clark will perform throughout the morning.  

Please call 631-655-7798 for more information on the event or if you would like to be a sponsor. Donations dedicated to Handicap Accessibility Project can be mailed to All Souls Race, P.O. Box 548, Stony Brook, NY 11790.

Daniel Kerr is the Director of SOLES for All Souls Race/Walk.

Many participants from last year’s concert will be returning this year. Photo from Dan Kerr
Stony Brook University musician Lindsay Ross will take part in this year’s concert. Photo from Dan Kerr

Historic All Souls Church, 61 Main Street in Stony Brook Village presents monthly Saturdays at Six concerts, Second Saturdays poetry readings, and Native American Drumming to the community.  Each of these programs brings its own unique mix of visitors to the Stanford White-designed national landmark chapel on the hill across from the Duck Pond. Their latest event, Conversations on the Sacred on Saturday, Aug. 5, will combine, music, poetry and drumming in one unique performance for the community.

The special program is the brainchild of Stony Brook University adjunct professor, poet, and literary scholar Carmen Bugan.  She selected the sacred readings for the evening and collaborated with Stony Brook University musicians and composers Ford Fourqurean and Lindsay Ross, All Souls organist Dan Kinney, and Native American Elder and Drummer Ric Statler on the musical interludes between readings.

The selection of poems includes works that are widely regarded for their technical virtuosity and lyrical beauty. Each reading includes a specific conversation with the sacred but offers at the same time a way into the life and sensibility of the poet. Christian and Judaic religions are in conversation with mystical Judaism, Taoism, Zen Buddhism, and Native American tradition. The literary selections will be placed in descending chronological order, beginning with a Native American chant (Where I Stand is Holy), all the way to several hundred years before Christ with a reading from Lao Tzu (Tao Te Ching).

Long Island poets Adam Fisher, Linda Dickman, Mindy Kronenberg, Vivian Viloria-Fisher, Greg Alexander, Bruce Johnson, Jack Zaffos, and Kathy Donnelly will serve as readers. The musical pieces interspersed with the poetry will include Native American Drumming; a mix of baroque, modern, improvisation; and classical hymns performed by Dan Kinney on All Souls’ almost 200-year-old Henry Erben-designed tracker organ.

The concert will begin promptly at 6 p.m., will include a 15-minute intermission and conclude by 8 p.m. The event is free. All Souls collects food to feed the hungry at every event.  “Lend a Hand; Bring a Can.” For further information, call 631-655-7798.

MAKING BEAUTIFUL MUSIC

All Souls Church in Stony Brook welcomed the renowned Euclid Quartet on April 30 as part of the church’s Saturdays at Six concert series. Pictured from left, violinist Jameson Cooper, violinist Aviva Hakanoglu, cellist Chris Wild, violist Luis Enrique Vargas, concertgoer Kathy Donnelly and Dan Kerr of All Souls Church. “We had a full house, and the music was world class!” Kerr said.