St. John’s Summer Concert Series

Living in the mountains near Boone has a lot of advantages. One of the greatest gifts has been the quality of music at Holy Cross Episcopal Church. Elaine Kallestad is the organist and choir director. Sunday, May 27th, was a concert of music directed by Elaine and the choir director from Banner Elk Presbyterian, Diane Rydell. The proceeds of the concert are used to help fund the St. John’s Summer Concert Series. You can read more about the small country church by going to the website of Holy Cross Episcopal Church, Valle Crucis. Today, I want to write about the music from Sunday’s combined choir concert and the other contributing artists.

Handbell Choir of 2018
Directed by Elaine Kallestad

The concert started out with music performed by the handbell choir of Holy Cross. The people sitting in front of the handbell choir are the members of the choir from Banner Elk Presbyterian Church. Playing handbells is a lot of fun, but what is powerful is knowing the hard work these members put in so that they would be able to perform several difficult pieces for this concert. Also, because of Elaine’s careful choice of music, the guests were treated to many different bell techniques.


The concert continued with Holy Cross choir singing a beautiful arrangement of Psalm 139. The arrangement included a guitar part, but Scott Kallestad (Elaine’s husband) improvised on soprano saxophone to add a wonderful ethereal feel to the piece. Scott is a music professor at Appalachian State University. Though I don’t have a copy of the mp3 from the concert yet, you can hear the lovely anthem here. Holy Cross sang it for worship at Sunday’s worship: Oh God, You Search Me and You Know Me by Bernadette Ferrell.

Holy Cross Choir with guitar and sax.

Scott also performed some jazz music with a student pianist, Matt that was wonderful. I’ve not been a big fan of the saxophone before, but Scott Kallestad’s playing changed my mind. I just had not heard a saxophonist that I enjoyed until hearing Scott at the concert.


My hope is that you can hear the entire concert here when I get a copy of it. There is a wonderful list of other performers who will be at St. John’s this summer. If this concert is any indication, it’s going to be a great summer of music.