Composer and Episcopalian Carlyle Sharpe is known for exciting, yet beautiful sacred compositions which have been performed all over North America and Europe. He is also an active member of Christ Church in Springfield, Missouri, and our church enjoys direct access to Sharpe’s music and his musicianship. He is an accomplished organist and a member of the church’s adult choir, which frequently performs his work for Easter, Advent, and other special services.
Sharpe has a passion for setting texts that speak to the soul, as well as ask questions that inspire us to be better Christians and indeed citizens of the world. His latest major work, “Of These Years I Sing,” was recently premiered in Springfield to an enthusiastic audience who braved a very cold February evening to be present. Set for orchestra, chorus and mezzo-soprano soloist, the 40-minute work illuminates 11 poems of Walt Whitman focusing on the ideas of freedom, the triumphs and messiness of democracy and the importance of women and mothers in society. These powerful texts set to his beautiful and uplifting music reminds us to cherish this wonderful idea we call America
Sharpe is Professor of Music in composition and theory at Springfield’s Drury University and a recipient of the Drury University Faculty Award for Excellence in Scholarship. His cantata, “Proud Music of the Storm,” was featured on the National Endowment for the Arts “American Masterpieces” concerts with the Providence Singers, and was also performed by the Washington Chorus at The Kennedy Center.
Sharpe’s music has been nationally televised by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and has been broadcast over WGBH Radio-Boston, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and National Public Radio affiliates. His works have received numerous performances including by the San Diego Symphony, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Kwang Ju City Choir in Korea, Charlotte Symphony, Omaha Symphony and at the Edinburgh International Festival.
Recordings of Sharpe’s music may be found here.
His music is published by EC Schirmer and includes works for smaller as well as advanced choirs. I encourage all church musicians, especially Episcopalian, to explore his music and consider how it may enrich your worship. We at Christ Church are blessed to have him in our parish and thank God for the gifts he shares with us each week.
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Update: The original headline stated that the premier took place at Christ Episcopal Church, Springfield. This was incorrect, the premier took place at Hammons Hall, Springfield.