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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Free stained glass windows concert at St. John's, Lafayette Square, Jan. 8

The Great Altar Window, the Last Supper, at St. John's Episcopal Church, Lafayette Square, given by Katherine B. Steele in honor of her mother, Annie E. Steele.  The left panel was given by the children of Julia McLane Lockwood in her memory, and the right panel, a gift from the wife and children of Rear Admiral Charles Wilkes in his honor.
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The public is invited to attend a free noontime organ concert on Wednesday at St. John's Episcopal Church, Lafayette Square featuring music improvised from some of the church's stained glass windows by the associate director of music at the Basilica of the National Shrine, Richard Fitzgerald.

He will play Allegro Maestoso from the King Window; Variations on Sine Nomine, the Hagner Window; Scherzo on Basque Carol, the McCants Window; Adagio - Meditation, the Great Altar Window; and the Finale, the Smith Window.

Richard Fitzgerald
Last October Dr. Fitzgerald won first place in the Annual Competition in Organ Improvisation. A composer, recitalist, and vocalist, he has taught organ improvisation at the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore and has performed in concerts throughout the U.S.

The featured concert windows were designed and crafted in Chartres, France and installed at St. John's between 1883 and 1885.  They depict the life of Jesus, the Gospel of St. John, and the Apocalypse.  Seven modern windows were added to the church from 1933 to 1987.

According to notes provided by Richard Grimmett, the King Window was a gift of Mary Rhinelander and her husband, John Alsop King, the president of the New York Historical Society from 1887 until 1900 who helped direct the selection and installation of the Lorin windows from Chartres. 

The Hagner Window was given in honor of Peter Hagner, a founder and member of the first vestry at St. John's, and his wife, Frances Randall Hagner, by their family.

Marion J. McCants gave her family's window, the first modern style stained glass window at the church, around 1933 in memory of her mother, Tallulah Mounceaux McCants, who was devoted to the mission of St. John's Orphanage.

The Smith Window was given by the family to honor Rear Admiral Joseph Smith who helped develop the first ironclad vessel commissioned by the U.S. Navy during the Civil War, the USS Monitor, and who served as the St. John's senior warden for several years before he died in 1877.

St. John's hosts First Wednesday concerts every month from October through June. It is known to many Washington residents and visitors as the welcoming yellow church at Lafayette Square, the “Church of the Presidents.”  President James Madison, who served as president from 1809 to 1817, began a tradition for all presidents who have either been a member of or have attended services at St. John's.  A plaque at the rear of the church designates the Lincoln Pew where President Abraham Lincoln often sat when he stopped by St. John's during the Civil War.

St. John's Episcopal Church, Lafayette Square, Washington, D.C./Patricia Leslie

Other St. John's First Wednesday concerts, all starting at 12:10 p.m., are:

February 5: Soloists from St. John's Choir perform baroque music for Valentine's Day

March 12 (2nd Wednesday)
: Virtuoso Organist Dongho Lee performs Charles Ives's Variations on "America" and other works

April 2: The U.S. Air Force Strings conducted by 2nd Lt. Shanti Nolan, with Michael Lodico, organist, perform Francis Poulenc's Organ Concerto

May 7: Easter music for trumpet and organ with A. Scott Wood and Benjamin Hutto

June 4: Organist Alan Morrison

Who on January 8:  Richard Fitzgerald, organist and composer

What:  First Wednesday Concerts (the second Wednesday in January)

When: 12:10 p.m., January 8, 2014

Where: St. John’s, Lafayette Square, 1525 H Street, NW, at the corner of 16th and H, Washington, D.C. 20005

How much: No charge

Duration: About 35 minutes

Wheelchair accessible

Metro stations: McPherson Square, Farragut North, or Farragut West

Food trucks: Located two blocks away at Farragut Square

For more information: Contact Michael Lodico at 202-270-6265,
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