Sounds on Oberlin

The Sounds on Oberlin concert series is a musical outreach endeavor of White Memorial Presbyterian Church that seeks to spiritually engage, vitally enrich, musically educate, and gloriously entertain the community through a set of high-quality, wide-reaching musical offerings. We believe that exposure to the unlimited joy of music will lift our spirits to soar above worldly concerns, with the ambition that these concerts will be both a benevolent and transformative experience.

Join Us For Season Six!

Concert for A Cause: A Hymn Festival supporting SAFEchild
October 15, 2023
3:00 p.m. | WMPC Sanctuary

Join singers, instrumentalist, and fellow congregants for an event that celebrates a rich tradition of Christian hymnody while supporting WMPC’s 2023 Major Mission Partner, SAFEchild. This hymn festival, led by James E. Bobb, Associate Professor of Music at St. Olaf College, will bring together musicians from White Memorial Presbyterian Church and the broader community to sing and reflect on the meaning and significance of beloved classics and modern favorites alike, all while exploring our connection to the important work of SAFEchild. SAFEchild is an organization dedicated to eliminating child abuse and empowering families in Wake County. Attendance to this Concert for a Cause  is free, and all donations collected at this event will support SAFEchild in its mission to  Stop Abuse For Every child  in our community.

About James: James E. Bobb is Associate Professor of Music and Elliot M. and Klara Stockdal Johnson Chair in Organ and Church Music at St. Olaf College. James holds performer’s certificates and M.M. degrees in organ and harpsichord performance and literature from the Eastman School of Music where his teachers included Russell Saunders and David Craighead in organ and Arthur Haas in harpsichord. His undergraduate work was at Capital University where his teachers were Janet Linker in organ and Frank Hussey in piano. James served as Minister of Music at First Congregational Church, Columbus, Ohio from 2009-2012, He also taught organ and organ literature at Capital University in Columbus. For fifteen years prior to that, James served the Lutheran Church of the Incarnate Word in Rochester, New York. Following the Lutheran cantorial tradition, James regularly composes or improvises music for weekly worship and directs the 96-voice Cantorei in concerts, worship services, and the annual St. Olaf Christmas Festival. Learn more about James here.

In Commemoration: 150 Years of Rachmaninoff
November 19, 2023
3:00 p.m. | WMPC Sanctuary

Come experience a pinnacle of virtuosic romanticism as pianist Solomon Eichner showcases the work of Sergei Rachmaninoff, celebrating his 150th birthday in 2023. Listen to lush sonorities and soaring melodies of a genius musician from the early 20th century, securing a lasting legacy of romantic brilliance alongside such giants as Tchaikovsky, Brahms, and Dvořák. Enjoy an afternoon of beautiful and moving repertoire brought to the Sounds on Oberlin Concert Series by Solomon Eichner, who has been reviewed as a musician who plays “with virtuosic ease,” who is “spirited and vivacious,” and who makes “the music sing and come alive.”

About Solomon: Consistently in demand throughout the U.S., Polish-American Concert Pianist Solomon Eichner has performed in England, Italy, Germany, Poland and Austria. Solomon is a prizewinner of the Liszt-Garrison International Competition, International Young Artists Competition Washington D.C., GoldenKey Carnegie Hall Debut Competition and Miami Music Festival Concerto Competition. When not concertizing, Solomon maintains a faculty position for the North Carolina Chamber Music Institute. Originally from Baltimore, Solomon earned his Bachelor’s degree from Manhattan School of Music, Master’s degree from Peabody Conservatory, and Doctor of Musical Arts from University of South Carolina on full scholarship and assistantship. Learn more about Solomon here.

Caminemos con Jesús
January 21, 2024
3:00 p.m. | WMPC Main Hall

Explore Latin Grammy nominated composer and performer Tony Alonso’s groundbreaking collection of liturgical music that calls on his own Cuban musical heritage to provide new ways of singing the liturgy in Spanish, English or bilingually. Caminemos con Jesús not only utilizes rich Cuban idioms but also explores what style and musical form can teach us about praying together across cultural and linguistic boundaries. This concert is offered in partnership with the WMPC Theologian in Residence program.

About Tony: Tony Alonso is a Latin Grammy nominated composer of sacred music and a scholar whose work responds to the diverse realities of contemporary culture. A Cuban-American Roman Catholic, Tony’s compositions embrace multicultural musical expressions and reflect a commitment to strong ritual song. His music appears in compilations and hymnals across Christian denominations throughout the world. Tony holds a Bachelor of Music in choral conducting from Northwestern University, a Master of Arts in theology from Loyola Marymount University, and a PhD in religion from Emory University. He is currently Aquinas Assistant Professor of Theology and Culture at Candler School of Theology at Emory University where he also serves as the inaugural Director of Catholic Studies. Learn more about Tony here.

Bending the Boundaries of Bluegrass
March 3, 2024
3:00 p.m. | WMPC Main Hall

Get ready for an afternoon of music from billboard-charting bluegrass band Nu-Blu! With a sound that acknowledges the traditional institutions that have shaped it, Nu-Blu brings a fresh sparkle to contemporary acoustic music that lands them squarely in the forefront of bands blazing the trail in bluegrass, gospel, and Americana entertainment. Nu-Blu’s style delivers a set of songs that range from the melancholy to the exuberant, and at every step they prove they’ve got a knack for finding their way into the deeper parts of you.

About Nu-Blu: Hailing from Siler City, Nu-Blu is one of the top Acoustic acts in the music industry, bringing its lively and entertaining version of Americana-bluegrass music to audiences across the nation year-round. Nu-Blu’s heart and soul is husband-and-wife duo Daniel and Carolyn Routh. Carolyn’s caramel-coated soprano is one of the band’s defining traits, at times a tender lullaby, at times a freight train headed straight for you, but always unwinding a surprising tale. Daniel is the group’s backbone, a multi-instrumentalist and backing vocalist who also handles band management. Austin Hefflefinger on banjo, and Justin Harrison on mandolin round out the quartet’s warm, layered, Appalachian sound. Together they deliver upbeat, blazing-fingers pick work just as well as gentle, heartwarming ballads, and they do it all with a natural togetherness that can’t be faked, forged over hundreds of shows on the road.  Learn more about Nu-Blu here.

A Goodly Heritage: Selections from The Psalm Works
April 21, 2024
3:00 p.m. | WMPC Main Hall

Join musicians from White Memorial Presbyterian Church in exploring the poetic and melodic beauty of the Psalms, newly set to music by our own Jeff Siker in A Goodly Heritage: Selections from The Psalm Works. Hear familiar themes from the Psalms – praise and thanksgiving, lament and sorrow, confession and repentance, wisdom and instruction, hope and salvation – in a variety of musical styles that celebrate the rich and enduring legacy of these sacred texts. Whether you’re a longtime lover of the Psalms or simply appreciate the beauty of inspired music, you won’t want to miss this special event.

About Jeff: Rev. Dr. Jeffrey S. Siker is Emeritus Professor of Biblical Studies at Loyola Marymount University, where he taught from 1987-2019.  He is known for his many books and articles on early Christianity, the history of biblical interpretation, and Christian ethics.  Before earning his M.Div. (Yale Divinity School) and Ph.D. (Princeton Theological Seminary), Jeff received his BA in music composition, as well as an MA in Religious Studies, from Indiana University (Bloomington).  A long-time student and performer of jazz piano, in his retirement Jeff has turned to a new pursuit that blends his creative musical and scholarly passions – setting all 150 Psalms to music. Jeff is an ordained Presbyterian minister in the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., a member of the New Hope Presbytery, and OnPoint Band pianist at WMPC.

Each concert will have a reception to follow.

Past Sounds On Oberlin Seasons

Season One (2018-2019)

9/23/18 – The Lonely Heartstring Band

1/13/19 – Westminster Concert Bell Choir

2/24/19 – Three Triangle Tenors

4/5/19 – Music from Four Continents: Kirsten Homdrom, Piano

6/9/19 – Mendelssohn Piano Trios: Niccolo Muti, Violin; David Oh, Cello; Kirsten Homdrom, Piano

Season Two (2019-2020)

9/29/19 – Organ, A to Z and In Between: Karl Zinsmeister

10/25/19 – UNC Jazz Faculty Quintet with Kate McGarry

12/15/19 – Magnificat, WMPC Choirs

Season Three (2020-2021)

9/20/20 – Joe Robinson, Oboe

10/25/20 – Mendelssohn Sonatas: Karl Zinsmeister, Organ; Kirsten Homdrom, Organ

3/10/21 – Classical and Celtic Violin: Mara Shea

5/5/21 – Lyricosa Quartet

6/2/21 – Narrative of a Slave Woman: LaToya Lain, Soprano

Season Four (2021-2022)

9/26/21 – Winterreise: Adrian Smith, Baritone; Kirsten Homdrom, Piano

10/24/21 – Jazzical with Joel: Joel Martin, Piano

2/27/22 – Carmen Inside Out: Kirstin Chavez, Mezzo-Soprano; Qiao Zheng Goh, Piano

3/27/22 – Requiem, WMPC Choirs

4/24/22 – Raleigh Ringers, Handbells

5/22/22 – Anita Burroughs-Price, Harp

Season Five (2022-2023)

10/16/22 – Ariel Pocock, Jazz Singer/Songwriter; Keith Ganz, Guitar

12/11/22 – Carol Fest, WMPC Choirs

2/5/23 – Songs of Love Through the Ages: Rush Dorsett, Soprano; Nora Burgard, Mezzo-Soprano; Kirsten Homdrom, Piano

5/21/23 – Those Americans: Nicole Keller, Organ

The Sounds on Oberlin Concert Series 

Concerts will be offered on the WMPC campus and livestreamed on the WMPC website. Concerts may also be streamed on WMPC social media platforms. Concert recordings will be available for viewing for up to one week after the concert.

View the Livestream


Please consider making a gift to support Sounds on Oberlin. Any amount is most welcome and appreciated. Your contribution is a meaningful building block to future Sounds on Oberlin concerts.

Support Sounds on Oberlin


Concert Series Committee

Stephanie Schumann & Jared Smith, Co-Chairs, Richard Bryant, Jean Carter, Wynn Dorsett, Dana Droz, Nathan Goettsch, Carol Hardman, Wayne Rogers, and Jeff Siker with continued support from WMPC music staff

Questions? Contact the Sounds on Oberlin Concert Series Committee