Pinnacle Presbyterian Church


Bluegrass Mass & Lecture: April 29 & 30

Saturday, April 29
A High, Lonesome Bluegrass Mass:
Blending Converging Styles and
Expressions in Worship

Chancel Choir Rehearsal
11 am in the Sanctuary
*Lunch at 12 pm in the Fellowship Hall
Lecture at 1 pm in the Fellowship Hall

Sunday, April 30
Bluegrass Mass: Come Away to the Skies
10 am in the Sanctuary

Chancel Choir and
Arizona bluegrass musicians
Timothy Sharp, conductor



Dr. Timothy Sharp will present an informative lecture on the folk-hymns and classical musical tradition that together form the basis of A High Lonesome Bluegrass Mass: Come Away to the Skies. This tradition comes primarily through the Scotch-Irish migration into the American South, with the hymns from this tradition published in collections in the early part of the nineteenth century.

The thousands of songs that flooded into the valleys of the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers came from the lips of generations of folk performers of Southern Appalachia, and found their way into the culture and ways of the American South. The hymnbooks in which this music was found were unique to the southern region of the United States, but their musical influence has spread to many faith traditions the world over.

In examining A High Lonesome Bluegrass Mass that will be performed on April 30, 2017, at the 10AM worship service, Dr. Sharp will discuss the five folk-hymn arrangements originating in the mid-nineteenth century collections of the Sacred Harp and Southern Harmony, which he organized around a significant traditional liturgy of the church, the Mass. His discussion will include “wilderness” spirituals, the shaped notes, and the history following the 2nd Great Awakening in the South in general.  He has written about this in his book, “Nashville Music Before Country,” which contains pertinent images he will present as part of the lecture. Finally, Dr. Sharp will discuss the immediate listener appeal of the rare blending of musical styles inherent in A High Lonesome Mass, and conclude by suggesting that diverse music adds value, strength, meaning, and relevance to today’s contemporary worship.

The lecture is a presentation of the Fran Park Center for Faith and Life.
*RSVP for lunch required to