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Historic Bethlehem’s ‘Moravian Soundscapes’ event seeks to harmonize with symphony of the city

October 9th, 2023

Jeanette Barres Zug Lecture will feature immersive walking tour and Moravian music performance

Prepare to embark on a sensory journey like no other!

“Moravian Soundscapes,” a walking tour, lecture, and musical performance presented by Historic Bethlehem Museums & Sites (HBMS), is warming up to harmonize with the symphony of the city on Oct. 14 and 15.

The two-day program offers the opportunity to explore the history of the Moravians through the sounds of life, industry, and nature in early Bethlehem.

Guests are invited to take a few quiet moments to pause, listen, and experience sound installations inspired by Sarah Eyerly, Dean of Research and Faculty Development in The College of Music at Florida State University.

Sarah Eyerly will lead Moravian Soundscapes Jeanette Barres ZUg lecture

Eyerly is the author of Moravian Soundscapes: A Sonic History of the Moravian Missions in Early America (Indiana University Press, Series: Music, Nature, Place, 2020), which received the Music in American Culture Award from the American Musicological Society, and the Dale W. Brown Book Award from the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies. The publication was also a finalist for the Waterloo Centre for German Studies Book Prize.

Eyerly is also co-author, with Rachel Wheeler, of the triple prize-winning article, “Singing Box 331: Re-Sounding Eighteenth-Century Mohican Hymns from the Moravian Archives” (The William and Mary Quarterly, 2019). Her article, “Mozart and the Moravians” (Early Music, 2019), received the Marjorie Weston Emerson Award from the Mozart Society of America.

Eyerly brings her expertise to Bethlehem with two unique offerings that vividly recreate the sounds of Bethlehem in 1758.

On Saturday, Oct. 14, two immersive walking tours starting at Moravian Museum of Bethlehem (66 West Church St., Bethlehem) are offered at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Eyerly will discuss her “Moravian Soundscapes” book project, musical research and discoveries in a lecture at 1 p.m. on Sunday Oct. 15 at the Gemeinhaus Saal, Moravian Museum.

Following the lecture, there will be a polyglot (multi-language) singing performance, featuring hymns and versus prepared by Eyerly in three languages: English, Mohican, and German for four voice parts (soprano, alto, tenor, and bass).

Attendees are invited to join in the hymn, to be led by volunteer performers from the Central Moravian Choir and the Unitas Choral Ensemble (Moravian Music Foundation).

“This two-day event promises to be an enriching, musical experience for all — from seasoned soundscape enthusiasts to those new to the concept,” explained HBMS President, LoriAnn Wukitsch.

“Guests will leave with a heightened awareness of the sounds around them, a deeper connection to the city of Bethlehem, and a fresh perspective on the impact of sound on our daily lives,” she added.

The “Moravian Soundscapes” events, offer engagement for all ages. Hearing the early sounds of Bethlehem on Oct. 14 while walking the beautiful Colonial Industrial Quarter is guaranteed to capture the imaginations of children and families. 

On Oct. 15, families can enjoy a special tour of the museum catered to younger audiences with an assortment of hand-on activities including quill pen writing and tile rubbing. In addition, during Eyerly’s lecture, children are invited to take part in their own music lesson on the first floor of the museum, where they will learn a simplified hymn in two languages.

“Moravian Soundscapes” Weekend Events

Walking tour

Saturday, Oct. 14 from 11 am to 1 pm

Moravian Museum of Bethlehem, 66 W Church St, Bethlehem

Tickets are $20 for HBMS members; $25 for future members. Tickets are limited.

Lecture and musical performance

Sunday, Oct. 15 beginning at 1 pm

Gemeinhaus Saal, Moravian Museum of Bethlehem, 66 W Church St, Bethlehem

Tickets are Free for HBMS members; $15 for future members; $5 for children

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