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Holy Chestnuts

Steven Marking baritone & Donald Livingston organ and piano

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A Stunning Collection of Victorian Era Anthems for Baritone

“What a work of love this album is! The artistry of both Steven and Donald is of the highest order. This latest collaboration shows off their partnership both beautifully and meaningfully.” - Bill Mathis, Music Minister Emeritus Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church Minneapolis, Minnesota

“These anthems fit my voice physically and my spirit emotionally. When I sing them, I combine my operatic tradition with my faith.

The Holy City and Schubert’s Ave Maria have always been near to my heart. As I gathered more songs for this collection, I discovered hidden gems. I was swept up by the profound depth of Gounod’s O Divine Redeemer and the power of Dvorak’s Goin’ Home. Lead Kindly Light, Crossing The Bar, and Be Near Me Still are quiet works of divine inspiration.” - Steven Marking

THE ANTHEMS Anthems are featured vocal works performed as a highlight of a celebration or church service, but not composed as an integral part of the mass.

During the Victorian era, 1837 - 1901, anthems reached a pinnacle of composition and musicality. Some lean heavily on the operatic tradition, while others are gentle and intimate. The songs are a perfect vehicle for Steve: they require a highly trained singer with wide dynamic range, excellent diction, a dramatic style and most importantly, a sincere and spiritual soul. These anthems are rarely recorded and this collection is quite unusual in its scope.

As a nod to his fans, Steve has included “The Lord’s Prayer” in this collection. “It is my most requested song. It embodies the very essence of Victorian era anthems even though it was written well after the period.” - Steve Marking

THE INSPIRATION Steve was the bass soloist at the musically renowned Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, (featured on the album cover) from 2013 - 2017. “I felt an instant comfort the first time I entered the worship space. It gave me a sense of majesty and wonder without losing the intimacy of my relationship with God.” - Steven Marking

It was here that Bill Mathis, music minister, introduced Steven to organist/pianist Donald Livingston.

“I came to know Donald Livingston as the most sensitive and capable accompanist on any keyboard. I wanted to record Holy Chestnuts with Donald on the organ in the sanctuary at Hennepin Church.” - Steven Marking

AN ACCOMPLISHED OPERA SINGER Steve has dozens of opera and oratorio roles to his credit. He received a master’s degree in vocal performance from Peabody Conservatory, studied at Yale University, then spent twenty years singing opera and oratorio in the New York area.

His Twin Cities performances include a role with Minnesota Opera, soloing with the Metropolitan Symphony and Minnesota Chorale, a Schubert Club recital of songs of Charles Ives and Lee Hoiby, and oratorios; Haydn Creation, Brubeck’s Gates of Justice, Bach B Minor Mass, Faure Requiem, Brahm’s Requiem, Mozart Requiem. Steve is best known by his fans for his beloved hit show, Our Mighty Mississippi.

Steve is the great, great grandson of Gideon Pond, the first Presbyterian minister to arrive the Twin Cities area in 1834.

Holy Chestnuts is Steve's third inspirational CD.

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