International Conference on Moravian Music and History Next Week, October 14-17

Spend a few hours, or a few days, next week—Thursday October 14 through Sunday October 17—steeped in the rich culture and history of the Moravians during the Bethlehem Conference on Moravian Music and History. The historic Gemeinhaus (1741) and Peter Hall (1867) will be the setting for most of the scholarly presentations and musical performances. (For the complete conference program and locations, click here.)

Minutebook of the 1770s Anstaltsvormünder conferenz (Committee of Moravian School Directors); from the Moravian Archives. The decorated paste paper was a specialty of Moravian women in the Single Sisters' houses.

Moravian scholars from around the world (Germany, Czech Republic, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the U.S.) will present papers on the history of Moravian culture and music from the fifteenth to twentieth century in Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Undergraduate presentations by Moravian students Charles Welsko and Tara Finegan Thursday afternoon will precede the first full day of panel presentations.

According to Heikki Lempa, conference co-organizer and chair of the Moravian History Department, the third biennial conference will address several major themes: 1) the place of Moravian history in colonial American history; 2) the continuity and rupture (1650-1722) of the Moravian culture; and 3) eighteenth-century Moravian culture.

"Moravian history has been a cutting edge topic among colonial historians in recent years," said Dr. Lempa. "Because of the extensive records kept by the Moravians, it is one of the best venues for exploring native American history. The Moravians also are of great interest because of the Church's controversial role in religious history, and because of the important and exceptional roles women, Africans, and native Americans played within the community."

Conference highlights include:

  • Thurs., Oct. 14, 7-8 p.m., Saal. "Heretics, Pacifists, and Teachers: What We Can Learn from the Old Moravian Brethren." Moses Lecture by Craig Atwood, Moravian Theological Seminary. Considered one of the most important scholars on Moravian history and theology, Dr. Atwood will speak about the pre-1670 Moravian Church, a topic rarely addressed.
  • Friday, Oct. 15, 4-5 p.m., Peter Hall. "Awake, My Cetra: Moravian Music and the Cittern," a featured performance by Duo Marchand, with Andrew Rutherford, cittern, and Marcia Young, voice and harp. "Andrew will be building a copy of the of the eighteenth-century citterns and performing pieces published in 1761," said Hilde Binford, conference co-organizer and associate professor of music at Moravian College. "This combination of cittern, harp, and voice has not been heard in 250 years!"
  • Friday, Oct. 15, 7:30 p.m., Central Moravian Church. "An Evening of Moravian Music," concert featuring the Church choir, College music groups, and a Singstunde (the audience will participate in the singing of hymns).
  • Sunday, Oct. 17, 3-4 p.m., Prosser. "Religion and Profit: Moravians in Early America," Annual Lecture on Moravian History by Katherine Carté Engel, Texas A&M University.

Other topics include Moravian education, communal living, gender and sexuality, pottery, and politics. Also, for the first time, Moravian archivists from Germany, England, and the United States will meet at the Archives to discuss common issues (Oct. 14). "The mission of the Moravian Archives is to promote scholarship on the Moravians," said Paul Peucker, director of the Moravian Archives and a Moravian faculty associate. "For us, this conference is a wonderful opportunity to do that in partnership with the College and the Seminary."

Co-sponsored by Moravian College, the Moravian Archives, and the Moravian Music Foundation. To view the Conference program and/or register, click here. Walk-ins are also welcome, and students may attend free with a College ID.

Moravian College encourages persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, please contact the event sponsor, Department of History, Heikki Lempa, hlempa@moravian.edu or call 610-861-1315.