It’s not every day that Yazoo gets treated to a free classical music performance featuring accomplished musicians, but that’s what is happening Wednesday at Trinity Episcopal Church.
Rae Shannon and John Paul will perform Ludwig Van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7 in A Major at noon at the church. The concert is free and open to the public.
“On behalf of Trinity Church, it is my pleasure to invite the community of Yazoo to hear one of the most sublime pieces of music ever written, performed by two of Mississippi's most accomplished musicians,” said Rev. George Woodliff. “This is a very rare opportunity. Please come and experience the power of Beethoven's music in the beauty of Trinity Church.”
Shannon began playing piano at the early age of four, and began lessons at the age of six – so began her lifelong love of playing and studying music.
She furthered her love of music while studying under the acclaimed pianist and professor Allison Nelson Neal at the University of Tennessee. During this time, she also competed in the Third Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in Ft. Worth, Texas.
After her time at the university, Shannon earned her Master of Music Degree from Mississippi College, and was a graduate assistant while working on her degree there.
Her musical education and talent have shown through her stunning solo performances and accompaniments over the better part of two decades, and her expansive career includes many awards and performances.
In 1975, she won the MMTA Concerto Competition. Then, for many years she was part of the St. Andrews Chamber Concert series as both an accompanist and soloist.
In 1988, she accompanied James Thatcher – a world renowned horn player whose music has been showcased in over 30 feature films and won Oscar awards – at a recital with The University of Southern Mississippi.
Additionally, Shannon has performed as a soloist in many symphonies, including the Mississippi, Jackson Wind, Tupelo, Great Falls Montana and Fort Collins Colorado Symphony Orchestras.
From 1976-1992, Rae was a keyboard player with the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra. In 1992, she moved to Houston, Texas where she was a rehearsal pianist for the Houston Ballet, and where she also accompanied recitals for graduate students at Sam Houston State University, Rice University, University of Houston and Lee College.
She also taught piano at San Jacinto College, and she was a rehearsal accompanist for Ballet Mississippi, for Twin City Ballet in Monroe, La., for SERBA Festivals, as well as pianist for previous International Ballet Competitions in Jackson. She is the organist for First Presbyterian Church in Jackson
Paul grew up in the coastal town of Lyme Regis, Dorsetshire, England.
In 1961 he won entrance to the Royal Academy of Music in London where his principle teachers were Alan Richardson, C. H. Trevor, Eric H. Thiman, and Thurston Dart. Paul holds the Academy’s diplomas in Piano and Organ, an honors degree from the University of London, and a doctorate from the University of Colorado.
In 1965 he immigrated to Jackson, Mississippi to become the organist and choirmaster at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral and has served as organist at Temple Beth Israel since 1973. At St. Andrew’s he was responsible for all service music and the St. Andrew’s noontime concert series begun in 1971, which quickly became a model for series throughout the country.
Paul has a special interest in the plucked keyboard instruments and has toured as a harpsichordist since 1980, presenting concerts and workshops in the United States, South America and Europe.
Since 1997 he has been in partnership with harpsichordist Shawn Leopard in many performances from Boston to Miami. This duo has recorded the Bach Trio Sonatas with Lyrichord Discs and the Soler Concertos for Two Keyboards on the Centaur label.
In 2002, Centaur released Paul’s solo recording of the complete clavichord pieces of Herbert Howells. In 2005, Lyrichord Discs released a three-disc set of the complete harpsichord works of the Baroque French master Jacques Du Phly and the complete keyboard suites of Johann Sebastian Bach. In 2015 Centaur released the complete Well-Tempered Clavier (both volumes), also by Bach.
In 2002 Paul was awarded the prestigious Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts by the Mississippi Arts Commission.
He retired from St. Andrews Cathedral in June of 2016. He moved to the Gulf Coast where he currently serves as choirmaster of St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church in Long Beach.
Music in the City
Next week’s concert begins at noon. Trinity Church is located at 323 North Main Street in Yazoo City.