The Bible’s depiction of the prophet Jeremiah is one of the most fascinating accounts in the Old Testament. Now, an assembly of talented Auburn students and faculty are set to bring that narration to life with ‘The Cry of Jeremiah’, a four-movement fall choral concert.
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The Cry of Jeremiah, a work by Auburn’s very own Dr. Rosephanye Powell, first premiered at the American Guild of Organists National Convention at Belmont University in Nashville, TN. Dr. Powell is a masterful composer whose works have been published by many of the industry’s illustrious publishers, including Oxford University Press, Hal Leonard Corporation and Alliance Music Publications.
Performing at this concert will be the Auburn University Women’s Chorus, Men’s Chorus, Chamber Choir and—for the first time at this particular fall choral concert—the Gospel Choir. In addition, the concert will feature guest organist Wayne Barr of Tuskegee University.
“The Cry of Jeremiah is a four movement work that basically outlines and gives you snapshots and windows into the prophet Jeremiah and his anguish over the nation of Israel,” said Dr. William Powell, director of choirs in the Department of Music at Auburn University.
“He was compelled by God and called by God to prophecy against Israel because God wanted them to turn away from their sin and wickedness and come back to Him, but they were so involved in that wickedness that they did not want to hear Jeremiah. He was virtually the only prophet preaching bad news while all of the other false prophets were preaching good news. So, they were saying, ‘What you’re saying [Jeremiah] is not lining up with what they’re saying so there must be something wrong with you because you’re not popular and you’re not giving us the popular message.’” said Powell.
The first movement, Is Not His Word Like a Fire Shut Up In My Bones, tells of God’s words being like a consuming fire inside of Jeremiah, leading him to declare that if he kept it hidden within, it would burn him up. He had to release it. He had to say what he’d been compelled by God to say.
The second movement, Oh Lord You Have Deceived Me, tells of how Jeremiah felt betrayed by God. Because of the history of prophets and prophecies spoken by them, Jeremiah fell under the assumption that God would move swiftly and everything would be back to normal. Instead, however, the Israelites turned a deaf ear to Jeremiah, rejecting him. Jeremiah began to question this, feeling as if God had lied to him.
The third movement, Cursed Be the Day, is Jeremiah’s lament. Since he can not get Israel to hear him nor get God to change his mind, he begins to curse the day he was born, believing that doing so would keep him from being compelled by God and suffering the subsequent persecution.
The fourth movement, Hallelujah, rounds it all off with Jeremiah coming to a position of resolve. He realizes that he is indeed in the will of God and that what he is doing is right. He finds God in the message he’s delivering, and this brings him closure.
“It’s a wonderful work,” said Powell.
The concert will be held Sunday, Nov. 11 at 2:30 p.m. at the Auburn United Methodist Church. Tickets will be sold at the door and will cost $10 for adults, $5 for children and students with Valid ID.
For more information, visit www.cla.auburn.edu/music