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Presbyterians host Tyrone musician Kris Laird

At 10:30 a.m. this Sunday, July 6, 2008, Tyrone Presbyterians will host hometown musician Kris Laird for an Independence weekend service that will feature both instrumental and vocal Solos, congregational carols, an organ voluntary by a Tyrone composer, and a pastoral message intended to encourage both rest and work, as well as contemplation and action.
Hometown citizen Kris Laird, the youngest son of Luther and Roselyn Markel Laird, will present both instrumental and vocal solos with a patriotic theme, on this Independence weekend. A graduate of both Penn State and Pittsburgh’s Duquesne University, and presently Director of Instrumental Music at Hollidaysburg Junior High, Mr. Laird will open worship on the euphonium with “A Salute To The Armed Forces” by Derric Johnson. Later in this patriotic service, Laird will sing a musical paraphrase of Katherine Lee Bates beloved carol composed in 1893 and entitled “America, The Beautiful.” Mr. Laird and his pharmacist wife Julia Ellenberger Laird reside in a new home in Sinking Valley, with their new daughter Bella Laird.
After hearing Mr. Laird sing, the audience will lift their voices in six patriotic carols intended to tell the story of America from 1832 to 1918. Dorothy Liller, who serves as Friday night cantor at Altoona’s Jewish Temple, will serve as song leader. She will commence with Baptist preacher Samuel Smith’s 1832 carol called “My Country ‘Tis Of Thee.” From the Civil War era, the audience will sing Professor  Samuel Addington’s 1860 sailor song entitled “Eternal Father Strong To Save,” as well as Julia Ward Howe’s 1862 soldier song called “The Battle Hymn Of The Republic.”
The congregation also will recall the country’s one hundredth anniversary when they sing Episcopal priest Daniel Robert’s 1876 national hymn entitled “God Of Our Fathers,” with its distinctive trumpet fanfares which guest musician Kris Laird will provide. With a burst of patriotic pride, the audience will embrace George Cohen’s 1906 tribute to the flag christened “You’re A Grand Old Flag, You’re A High-Flying Flag,” as well as Russian Jew Irving Berlin’s 1918 masterpiece called “God Bless America! Land That I Love!” Soprano Kate Smith immortalized Berlin’s “God Bless America!” during World War II, and certainly Berlin’s lyrics have regained popularity since the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001.
At the offertory, Presbyterian organist Richard Merryman will recall a 1902 patriotic march by Tyrone composer and music store owner Charles Zerbe, the father of long-time Tyrone citizen Burley Zerbe.       Some officers in the Tyrone Historical Society suggest that Tyrone’s Benedict Club used Zerbe’s  “March And Two-Step” for one of their earliest Summer Gala Balls, around 1905. Since the Zerbe march evolved just before the dramatic era of silent movies, when Tyrone’s Wilson Theatre boasted a Wurlitzer Pipe Organ, Merryman will utilize some of the orchestral resources of the church’s 1998 Allen Digital Computer Organ to recreate the patriotic spirit of Zerbe’s march.
Finally, Presbyterian preaching pastor and Epworth Manor chaplain Mark Liller will offer a summer message entitled “It’s time for rest and for action.” In his homily delivered on this early summer Sunday, Reverend Liller will explore the need for faithful Christians to find fulfillment, both in rest and in work for the Lord, as well as in contemplation and in action for God’s kingdom. Reverend Liller will invite the audience to spend the remainder of summer both in “in sitting and in stirring for God.
On this 232nd anniversary of America’s 1776 Independence Day, as people all across this nation reflect on the blessings of the land, Tyrone Presbyterians encourage the citizens of Tyrone to join them at 10:30 a.m. this Sunday, July 6, 2008 for a patriotic worship, where the spirit of the day will find eloquent utterance in this responsive prayer of confession, echoing the words of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address: “In the long and honored history of America/There are names that shine like beacons in the night/The patriots whose vision gave us meaning/Who kept the lamp of freedom burning bright/In the long and honored history of America/There are those who paid the last and final price/Who were called upon by chance, or desperate circumstance, to make the ultimate sacrifice/Our grateful nation bows its head in sorrow/And in thanks for guaranteeing our tomorrow/The last full measure of devotion, beyond the call of duty were their deeds/The last full measure of devotion, they gave themselves to serve the greater need/And for those who did survive, who came back home alive/We join in praise of comrades who were slain/And highly resolve, yes highly resolve/That these died shall not have died in vain.”
As summer unfolds, why not highly resolve to join Tyrone Presbyterians for 10:30 worship this Sunday, July 6, 2008?