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Benefit set for music director

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What: Benefit concert for Robert Murphy

When: 7 to 9:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 12

Where: Trinity Lutheran Church, 523 4th Ave SE, Jamestown

Details: Musical performance for expenses related to Murphy’s medical care

Admission: Freewill donation at the door or the Robert Murphy Benefit account at Gate City Bank

Contact: Meggen Henke, 252-2841, connect@trinityjamestown.com, trinityjamestown.com

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The array of talent coming together for a benefit concert is testament to the love and respect for the music director it is supporting, according to organizers.

Robert Murphy, director of music ministries at Trinity Lutheran Church, and choir director at St. John’s Lutheran Church, has made quite an impact in the two years he has been in Jamestown, according to the pastors of both churches. Murphy has immersed himself in all aspects of musical life and has a gift of bringing people together, they said.

“He is a gifted musician and really loves making music with people,” said the Rev. Kristi Weber, senior pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church. “That has been his biggest gift to this community.”

Murphy, who could not be reached for comment, was diagnosed with lymphoma in April and is receiving treatment. When the benefit was organized the amount of community and peer support for Murphy reflected his three-decade music career in the Twin Cities and Jamestown, she said.

There are 15 musicians or ensembles participating in the concert, Weber said. Others had previous commitments or would have attended, she said.

Musicians from both churches along with Murphy’s friends and colleagues from the Twin Cities and Fargo will be performing. Other local presence includes Laura Lynch, director of instrumental music at the University of Jamestown; Cheryl McIntyre, choral director of Jamestown High School; David Morlock, choir director of United Presbyterian Church; and members of Intrigue, a local band.

“There will be quite a wide range,” Weber said. “Sacred, classical and pop music.”

As the director of music ministry at Trinity Lutheran Church, Murphy selects the music for worship services along with playing the organ and piano, she said. He also directs the choir and the contemporary celebration ensemble, she said.

“He invites a lot of high school, college and adult musicians to do solo and duet work,” Weber said. “He brings those people together and says to them ‘I have the perfect piece for you’ and invites them to play.”

Murphy has an encyclopedic knowledge of music that allows him to quickly produce the appropriate material to clergy and choirs, she said. Above all, Murphy is attentive to his role of leading the congregation in glorifying God through music and singing, she said.

In addition to his religious music ministry, Murphy has accompanied the Jamestown Choralaires, along with the choirs of the University of Jamestown and Jamestown High School, Weber said.

“Very soon after he got here he made connections with other musicians,” she said. “He is always willing to make music for people.”

The Rev. Erik Weber, pastor of St. John’s Lutheran Church, said Murphy has a skill of encouraging musicians. He invites the elementary and middle school students to offer their talents in worship.

“It might be just three or four notes that they put into a rhythm but he creates space for them to really come in and share their gift for service as a part of worship,” he said.

Murphy’s work with musicians does not focus on performance, the Rev. Eric Weber said. He creates an opportunity for someone to share their gift, skill or passion for worship and the good of the community, he said.

It’s all done in a meaningful way, he said. A collection of terrified kids put together in an ensemble emerges as a wonderful Christmas program, he said.

“We continue to pray for Robert and to walk with him through this recovery and this time of uncertainty about how the disease is going to progress,” Weber said.

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