Upcoming Hymn Festival's theme is 'The History of Popular Music in Hymnody'

GIBSON CITY — The annual Hymn Festival sponsored by the Gibson Area Music Foundation will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 16, at the United Methodist Church in Gibson City.

Attendees at the seventh annual event will enjoy singing selected hymns with background information given about each.

This year’s theme, “The History of Popular Music in Hymnody,” will make connections between sacred and secular music. Janet McCumber of Villa Grove is directing the festival, with Angela Sun-Hong Yang accompanying on the church’s historic pipe organ. Both are earning graduate degrees at the University of Illinois.

McCumber is a doctoral student in choral conducting and literature at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). She holds a master of arts degree in choral and orchestral conducting from Eastern Illinois Univeristy, and her thesis won the Thesis Award of Excellence in 2010 for EIU’s College of Arts and Humanities. Her background includes serving as a director and instructor at EIU and 14 years as high school music teacher at Villa Grove High School. She has also held various positions with the Illinois Music Education Association (ILMEA) and Illinois American Choral Directors Association. She has directed choral festivals throughout the state, including the 2012 ILMEA District V Senior Chorus.

Yang is a doctoral student in choral conducting and piano at UIUC. She previously earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in organ performance at UIUC. Her achievements include receiving the Organ/Harpsichord Division Achievement Award. She has accompanied the university’s Concert Choir and Women’s Choir. She is working as music director at Jesus-Love Korean United Methodist Church in Urbana and is an organist at St. Peter’s United Church of Christ in Champaign.

There is no admission charge for the Hymn Festival, and the church’s sanctuary at Church and Tenth streets is accessible with ramps and elevator, with plenty of free parking.

A free-will offering will be taken to support the nonprofit music foundation’s mission to bring quality musical events to area residents and summer music camp scholarships to high school students.

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