January 26 Special Music Presentation

First Presbyterian Church is pleased to announce a special musical presentation for Sunday, January 26 during the 10:30 am worship service.  This musical offering is three movements from Cantata 51, Exult in God in Every Land!  by Johann Sebastian Bach. Sharing their time and talents are Mary McMurtery, soprano, Bruce Briney, trumpet, Karen Martin, 1st violin, Alexandru Malaimare, 2nd violin, and Linda Andrews, organ.  Special thanks not only go to the musicians but also for a generous donation from the Wanda Perkins Memorial Fund.  First Church members, Nancy Chu and Felix Chu are Wanda’s daughter and son-in-law, respectively.


Mary McMurtery, soprano, sings regularly in the First Presbyterian Church’s Chancel Choir. Ms. McMurtery enjoyed her local debut with the McDonough Choral Society as soprano soloist for the Gounod Requiem in April 2013, and she will be appearing as second soprano soloist with the MCS again this spring.  In December 2012, she appeared as soloist in Handel’s Messiah with the Galesburg Community Chorus. In 2011, Ms. McMurtery performed the role of Papagena in a concert version of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte with the New York Lyric Opera.  In 2010, she performed in St. John’s, Newfoundland as a participant in the Opera on the Avalon summer training program.  Other roles performed include Susanna (Le nozze di Fiagro, Mozart), Sister Dolcina (Suor Angelica, Puccini), Poppea (L’incoronazione di Poppea, Monteverdi), Héro (Béatrice et Bénédict, Berlioz), Mercedes (Carmen, Bizet), and Ännchen (Der Freischütz, C.M. von Weber).

 As a frequent recitalist, Ms. McMurtery performed as the soprano soloist for the Hugo Wolf/Goethe Project in New York City for the (reJ Directions Theater Company in 2010. Other studies abroad include the Florence Voice Seminar, in Florence, Italy (2007, 2005), and at the Carl Marie von Weber Hochschule fur Musik in Dresden, Germany (2002).  Ms. McMurtery holds a Master of Music degree in Voice Performance and Pedagogy from Westminster Choir College of Rider University (2006) and a Bachelor of Music degree in Voice Performance and German from DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana (2004).

On a personal note, Ms. McMurtery said, “I am pleased to offer excerpts from Bach’s BWV 51 with such excellent musicians in worship this morning. “

Bruce Briney, trumpet, is celebrating his 20th year of teaching trumpet at Western Illinois University.  He received his musical education from the University of Illinois and Northwestern University where he earned a Bachelor of Music, Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts in Performance.  His primary trumpet teachers were David Hickman and Vincent Cichowicz.  At Northwestern, his conducting teachers and mentors included John Paynter and Victor Yampolsky.  His work as a recitalist, chamber musician and conductor can be heard on the Crystal, Koss and Premier labels which are available through Amazon.com.

Karen Martin, violin, attended the Mannes College of Music where she studied with Shirley Givens.  Further studies were at the Aspen Music Festival, the Meadowmount School with David Cerone, and orchestral training with the Colorado Philharmonic.

 Karen maintains a violin studio in Macomb, and plays professionally with the Quad Cities Symphony.  Previous experience has been with the Illinois Symphony, Pittsburgh Opera and Ballet Orchestra, Omaha Symphony and Chamber Orchestra, the Oklahoma Symphony, Breckenridge Music Institute, and Eastern Music Festival.

Ion-Alexandru Malaimare, violin, was born in 1989 into a family of artists. The Romanian violinist has studied violin with renowned teacher, Stefan Gheorghiu and then, at the National University of Music in Bucharist, he studied violin with Florin Croitoru.  In Belgium, he studied under the guidance of violinist and pedagogue, Vegard Nilson at Artesis Konservatorium in Antwerp, from which he holds a Bachelor degree.  Currently, he is a student of Dr. Julieta Mihai at Western Illinois University, where he continues his work towards a Master of Music degree in Music Performance.  In March 2014, he will participate in the Finals of the MTNA Young Artist Competition in Chicago.

Alexandru has been involved as a soloist in orchestral and chamber groups and additionally has had the opportunity to collaborate with conductors Igor Coretti and Christian Badea.  He played in the George Enescu Festival in 2011 as a member of the Romanian Youth Orchestra.  He has performed in recitals and concerts in Romania and all major cities which include Bucharest, Prague, Arezzo, and Kiev.

An important part of Alexandru’s career development as a musician has been the winning of the scholarship of the “SoNoRo” Chamber Music workshops.  As part of the scholarship award, he had the opportunity of working and also playing in public concerts with artists like Alexander Sitkovetsky, Corinne Chapelle, Adrian Brendel, Erik Schumann and Razvan Popovici, the founder of the chamber music festival and workshops. He was admitted into the masterclasses of Sergiu Celibidache Festival in Bucharest, where he worked with Helmuth Nicolai (Rosamunde Quartet). In addition to winning prizes at violin competitions in Romania, he also was award prizes from individuals and organizations, such as Rotary Club Atheneum, Bucharest.

Linda Andrews, organ, is in her 19th year as organist for First Presbyterian Church. She is also instructor of organ at Western Illinois University.  She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in music education from Western Illinois University and a Master of Music degree in church music from Northwestern University. Primary organ teachers included Anita Werling and Wolfgang Rübsam. Additionally, she was a participant in the French Organ Study Seminar and played historic instruments in Paris and southern France. As an active member of the American Guild of Organists, she has held various offices for the WIU chapter and is currently secretary. She has presented solo organ recitals and in addition has been a featured organ soloist with the McDonough Choral Society.