The Schoenstein organ at the Chapel of the Incarnate Word will come alive for the public on Sunday, for the first in a new series of four Caritas Concerts sponsored by organist and music teacher Mary Ann Winden.
In Latin the term caritas refers to an outpouring of love in charitable works, and the concert series, free and open to the public, will help the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word fulfill their mission.
The Sunday concert, titled “When in Our Music God Is Glorified,” will celebrate multiple events. It’s the first time the chapel, on the campus of the University of the Incarnate Word, has been open to the public since the coronavirus pandemic began in March 2020. It also will celebrate the life of Arthur “Art” Winden, Mary Ann’s husband of 57 years and a beloved member of the music community in San Antonio.
Art Winden died in July 2020, and pandemic restrictions meant a small memorial service closed to the public. Sunday’s concert will be the fitting tribute her husband deserves, Winden said, and a chance for family, friends, former music students and the wider San Antonio community to celebrate his life and legacy.
The Windens met as music students of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. Art Winden relocated to pursue postgraduate work at the University of Texas at Austin, then went on to teach choir at multiple locations including Churchill and Holmes high schools in San Antonio. He was a member of the San Antonio Mastersingers and San Antonio Choral Society, and he worked at several area churches, including St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, First Presbyterian Church, and Temple Beth-El.
The concert also will serve as a demonstration of the Schoenstein & Co. organ, installed in 2007 for the 100th anniversary of the chapel. Its 1,576 pipes give the instrument the power — the proper term among organists is “presence” — to lead a congregation, said organist David Heller, who will perform several pieces during the concert.
“You want the organ to have presence in the room so that it’s able to lead them forward,” Heller said, demonstrating with a musical flourish how the air-driven pipes fill the church interior with majestic harmony.
Heller will perform a piece by noted composer for organ Craig Phillips, titled “As God’s Chosen Ones,” specially commissioned by Winden in memory of her late husband.
Winden chose biblical verses from St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians for the lyrics set to music by Phillips, who said his aim was to trace the tragedy of Art Winden’s loss while honoring his life.
“The organ can be extremely effective in conveying emotions,” Phillips said from his home in Los Angeles.
Phillips, who has visited San Antonio and heard the Schoenstein organ in performance, praised its sound.
Sister Mary Henry, director of the Incarnate Word Heritage Center, which manages the chapel, said Winden initially approached her in 2019 with the idea of featuring the organ in a series of concerts. The pandemic intervened, then gave the concerts new meaning with the death of Winden’s beloved husband.
“We’ve always wanted to share our space,” she said, “and there’s such a longing for people to be together.”
After the initial concert in his honor, the San Antonio Chamber Choir and UIW Cardinal Singers will perform a program Feb. 26-27 titled “Threshold,” featuring a Tibetan cantata and a new composition for organ by San Antonio composer Andrew Lloyd.
For Good Friday, April 15, a group of 14 local organists will perform Marcel Dupré’s “Stations of the Cross,” with readings of devotional poems by Paul Claudel. A May 15 program will feature organist Adam Pajan, artist in residence at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
All concerts are free and open to the public, with face coverings required for all attendees.