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Dueling clerics inspire St. Martin's

by jmaloni
Fri, Apr 6th 2012 02:35 pm

by Larry Austin

Two clerics joined together in music to support a youth program at St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church.

During a special April 1 recital at the church, the Rev. Earle King of St. Martin's shared the church organ with Bishop William Franklin, the 11th bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo. The duo played Concerto No. 3 in G major for Two Organs, by Antonio Soler. King added performances of music by Bach and Marcel Dupre.

When Franklin became bishop of the Western New York diocese last year, the two discovered a mutual affinity for the church organ.

"We discovered we were organists and Bishop-elect Franklin said we should play a recital together sometime," King said. "So it finally came to pass."

King has a bachelor's degree in music from the Eastman School of Music and a master's in organ from the University of Oklahoma. He was an assistant professor of organ at the University of Texas at El Paso. Franklin has studied organ from age 8.

"It was great fun. We had a wonderful time," Franklin said, noting that it was the second of three recitals for the two together. They performed on the two organs at St. Paul's Cathedral in Buffalo, with Bishop Franklin in the balcony and Father King in front. Another recital is planned in Batavia on May 6.

"This is the first of many, I'm sure, because this a way we can go out and help our parishes as a fundraiser," Franklin said.

"We'll do it again sometime," King said, especially when they can put together more music for two organs, as there were in Buffalo.

The event was a fundraiser for St. Martin-in-the-Fields' Journey to Adulthood, a six-year program for youth in the Episcopal Church that includes an urban adventure and a seven-day pilgrimage. From July 19 to 26, seven youth from St. Martin's will visit Ireland.

"We've had three pilgrimages recently to the Holy Land, which has just really changed lives of some of the kids here at St. Martin's," King said. "This coming summer we're going to Ireland and we expect more changed lives out of that."

Part of the journey involves a pilgrimage "to go to places where God's been found," King said. "It's a pilgrimage to find God and then come back and be an adult member of the community of faith. We love it."

Seven girls will make the pilgrimage this year.

Molly Smith, 16, said she's looking forward to new experiences and being with different kinds of people who share a common faith.

"It'll definitely be life-changing," said Smith. "I don't think we realize how life-changing yet, until we get there."

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