Diaspora Chamber Players

On Apr 23rd, our church was blessed with a special concert. The African-American trio, Diaspora Chamber Players, and a guest pianist played the W.A. Mozart quartet KV 478 – a piece for violin (Carlos Baptiste), viola (Dr. Linda Blanche), cello (Anita Hill), and piano (Tim Brown).

It was a remarkable performance that attracted 51 visitors to our church, among them yet another class of students from the Livingston School here in town. Our particular blessing as a church is that we do not have to abide by some distant concert tradition but that we can nurture a culture of interaction between the musicians and our audience. This makes these concerts a valuable addition to the music programs the public schools offer in New Brunswick.

It helps, of course, that many of our adult visitors have become familiar with the question-and-answer part at the conclusion of most of our recitals. I want to thank them for role-modeling many questions for the younger students who, usually with some delay, join the conversation then as well.

The particular quartet on Apr 23rd was interesting because it was not well received when first played in 1782. Our program quoted a contemporary notice that read “(as performed by amateurs) it could not please: everybody yawned with boredom over the incomprehensible tintamarre of four instruments which did not keep together for four bars on end, and whose senseless concentus never allowed any unity of feeling.”

It is so often in history that something is ill received at first and assumes a well-deserved place in the establishment later on. And it’s good for us as a church to expose the youngsters of our community to this kind of experience.

Thank you, Diaspora Chamber Players, for bringing your beautiful music and its history to us! We also wish to thank the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, for funding the event through a grant provided by the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission/Board of Chosen Freeholders.

About Rev. Dr. Hartmut Kramer-Mills

Hartmut Kramer-Mills, a native of Jena, Germany, began his theological education at Heidelberg University. After the Middle Exam in 1986 he received a scholarship from the World Alliance of Reformed Churches for McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. He graduated from McCormick with a Master of Divinity in 1988. He graduated from Marburg University in Germany with the Ecclesiastical Exam in 1990, and received a Dr. theol. from Greifswald University, Germany, in 1997. From 1990 to 1991 he was vicar at St. Wenzel in Naumburg, Germany. He was ordained minister of word and sacrament in 1993 through the Protestant Church of the Church Province of Saxony. From 1993 to 1998 he served as assistant pastor in Stoessen, Goerschen, and Rathewitz, Germany. At the same time he was lecturer for Church History at Erfurt College in Germany. From 1999 to 2000 he served the Spotswood Reformed Church in New Jersey as interim pastor. Since 2000 he and his wife serve the First Reformed Church in New Brunswick, New Jersey, as co-pastors.
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