Sacred Song to honor CLSC Class of 2023

Members of the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle Class of 2022 are welcomed on stage for the Sacred Song Service July 31, 2022, in the Amphitheater. At right, the CLSC Class of 2022 processes from the Amp to the Hall of Philosophy for their Vigil Ceremony. Dylan Townsend/Daily File Photo

Mary Lee Talbot
Staff writer 

“Imagination: Celebrating the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle” is the theme for the 8 p.m. Sunday evening Sacred Song Service in the Ampitheater. The CLSC Class of 2023 will be honored in the service. Their class motto, “The Power of the Word,” was the inspiration for the service.

The program was planned by the Department of Religion with CLSC staff and the Alumni Association of the CLSC. This collaboration is a newer one between the two departments. 

The call to worship features the imagination that went into creation. Poems and readings will come from the Hebrew, Christian and Muslim traditions. These include a prayer from the Kabbalat Panim for Shabbat, readings from Genesis and the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, and a reading by Yunus Emre, a Turkish folk poet and Sufi mystic. The anthems, sung by the Chautauqua Choir, include “Verleih’ uns Frieden gnädiglich (Graciously grant us peace),” by Felix Mendelssohn with words by Martin Luther and “Yih’yu l’ratzon imrei fi, imrei fi (May the words of my mouth).” 

There will be a collect — a prayer to gather people together — based on the Four Pillars of Chautauqua: Art, Religion, Education and Recreation.

The Sacred Song service is crafted by Joshua Stafford, director of sacred music and Jared Jacobsen Chair for the Organist. The Rt. Rev. Eugene Taylor Sutton will preside. The CLSC Class of 2023 has been invited to sit on the Amp stage during the service. 

One of the bridges between the Sacred Song Service in the Amp and the Vigil Ceremony in the Hall of Philosophy will be a procession, an idea suggested by Sony Ton-Aime, Michael I. Rudell Director of Literary Arts. The class will stay on the stage until the end of “Largo,” the postlude that ends every Sacred Song Service, and they will lead the procession from the Amp to the Hall of Philosophy. Members of the congregation are invited to process behind them and attend the Vigil.


The author Mary Lee Talbot

Mary Lee Talbot writes the recap of the morning worship service. A life-long Chautauquan, she is a Presbyterian minister, author of Chautauqua’s Heart: 100 Years of Beauty and a history of the Chapel of the Good Shepherd. She edited The Streets Where We Live and Shalom Chautauqua. She lives in Chautauqua year-round with her Stabyhoun, Sammi.