More than $6000 was raised for the Bible Society’s Indigenous ministry during this past Sabbath’s Hymnfest, held at Wahroonga Seventh-day Adventist Church in Sydney.
The concert initiative—a joint venture between Wahroonga church and Bible Society—drew an audience of 800-plus people and featured a variety of orchestral pieces and solo items.
Conducted by Benjamin Milis, the grand orchestra was comprised of musicians from a variety of denominational backgrounds, accompanied by a joint choir from Wahroonga and Waitara churches.
“In a divided culture, there is something profoundly beautiful about moving beyond our differences and engaging in a completely unified activity—singing to a living God that redeems us and gives us hope,” said Mr Milis. “One of the highlights of Hymnfest for me was seeing the mix of age groups flood through the doors when they finally opened, from newborns to 90 year olds—a reminder that there is still an appreciation of and need for music with quality and excellence in the Adventist trajectory.”
Izak Rigney-Sebastian accompanied the ensemble on the digeridoo, highlighting the Indigenous theme that was prevalent throughout the night.
A choir from Wahroonga Seventh-day Adventist School also featured, with the program intermitted with videos and presentations from Marian Moroney.
Concertmaster Lee Thompson reflected on his highlight from the night: “‘Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary’—just the arrangement had a really nice life to it. It was very vibrant, and it put a smile on my face.”
Hymnfest is a first for Sydney, having previously been hosted by the Perth Adventist Orchestra in Western Australia. The format of the concert was inspired by Dr Lyell Heise and Valmai Hill from the Institute of Worship.
The orchestra and choir will return later this year on November 23 for the annual Christmas concert hosted by Wahroonga Seventh-day Adventist Church.