World Refugee Day Commemoration

Each year the Tampa Bay Refugee Task Force hosts a local event to commemorate World Refugee Day.
This is one day set aside internationally to recognize the courage and resilience of refugees.

This year’s local event will be held on June 16th at 1:00pm at Pinellas Technical College located at 901 34th Street South in St. Petersburg.

The event will begin at 1:00pm with a networking time in the lobby area featuring heavy hors d’oeuvres from the PTC Culinary Arts Department and live music from Lakewood High School’s 54th Ave Jazz Combo.

At 2:00pm a short program will be held in the main auditorium featuring Al Ruechel of Bay News 9 as the Master of Ceremonies, Mayor Kriseman of St Petersburg providing opening remarks and a Dance of Hope by refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

A brief awards ceremony will also recognize 5 former refugees/immigrants who have distinguished themselves by giving back to our refugee population in our community through our “Making a World of Difference” awards. These awards highlight the fact that our community is stronger and more welcoming because of the former refugees/immigrants who invest their time and resources here by giving back.

Finally, a citizenship ceremony will be held with 30 former refugees becoming U.S. citizens. The keynote speaker will be Sandra Grudic, a Pinellas County high school teacher, former refugee from Bosnia and current volunteer for refugees in our community.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, please contact Doug Haskitt at

World Refugee Day Celebration:

“Yesterday, Refugees–

Today, Americans”

When:   June 16, 2017, 1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Where: Pinellas Technical College, 901 34th Street South, St. Petersburg, FL, 33711. From 34th Street South, go westbound on 11th Ave. S. (across from Gibb’s High School), go past the Commercial Trucking Training Area on your right, and take your 2nd right into our Main Parking Lot. The Main Entrance and Reception Area will be on the north side of the Main Parking Lot in the center of the building.


One City Chorus and The Alumni Singers, come TOGETHER for a wonderful afternoon of music!

Sunday, May 28, 4:00pm
One City Chorus and The Alumni Singers Free Concert

Two great community choruses- One City Chorus and The Alumni Singers, come TOGETHER for a wonderful afternoon of music! This concert is FREE, and will include Freedom Songs, Civil Rights Songs, Spirituals, and Gospel Songs. You don’t want to miss it!
A freewill collection will be taken to benefit the choruses and Lakewood Methodist Church.

Location for One City Chorus and The Alumni Singers Concert:Lakewood United Methodist Church-5995 MLK Jr St. S, St. Pete


Mozart’s Requiem at SPC, Monday, April 24, 7:30 p.m.

Mozart’s Requiem: In memory of Jason Miller, Monday, April 24 at 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM

The Palladium at St. Petersburg College

253 5th Ave N, Saint Petersburg, Florida 33701
The combined choruses of St. Petersburg College and a chamber orchestra comprised of SPC faculty and friends, under the direction of SPC Interim Director of Choral Activities, Dr. Matt Caine, will present Mozart’s Requiem in memory of Jason Miller.

The life of prolific composer and musician Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart tragically ended just shy of his 36th birthday, leaving others to come after him and complete his unfinished Requiem. Composer and locally-known musician Jason Miller, an alumnus of the music and theatre departments of St. Petersburg College, died in a tragic automobile accident in December 2016 at the age of 36.

We, the musicians of SPC join together in this performance of Mozart’s Requiem to help our community mourn the passing of our beloved friend and, by doing so, in some small way seek to complete some of his life’s unfinished work in much the same way that composers completed Mozart’s unfinished Requiem.


Christmas Caroling photos

Click on any picture for a larger image.
Photos by Janet Blair


Opportunity to sing onstage with The Florida Orchestra

Ever wonder what it feels like to perform onstage with The Florida Orchestra? Find out with the ‘Sing Out! Tampa Bay’ choir. This year’s performance will feature traditional and contemporary American Gospel songs like Amazing Grace, Oh Happy Day, and When the Saints Go Marching In. The sing-along concert is Saturday, Feb 11, at 7 pm at the First Baptist Church of St. Petersburg. If you are interested in participating in the choir, please register here by Nov 18.

If you have any additional questions, please contact Daryn Bauer, TFO Community Engagement Manager, at or 727-362-5468.

NOTE: Claire  Stiles sang in this last year and will be doing so again. It’s something Lakewood singers would enjoy.

Memorable presentations at Sunday service, August 28th, 2016

Click on any picture for a larger image.

Amaiya and Kai’Lyn Washington performing an interpretive dance of R. Kelly’s “The World’s Greatest”

A women’s quartet comprised of Yvonne Riesen, Yoko Nogami, Grace Lewis, and Claire Stiles, singing “God Who Touchest Earth”

Rev. Wells presenting Children’s Time, assisted by physics teacher husband, Jeff Wells.

Photos by Susan Sherwood, Yoko Nogami, Claire Stiles, Lucille Ruga, and Roxanne McGlashan


Lakewood UCC participation in Florida Orchestra Sing Out! Concert

Sing Out! Concert with the Florida Orchestra last night at the Mahaffey Theater. Community Chorus members from LUCC included Mark Gibson, Colleen Coughenour, Jim Andrews, Claire Stiles, Jeff Wells, and Kim Wells. This was the first sing along concert sponsored by the Florida Orchestra.
Click on images for closeups; use your browser’s back button to return to main post.


Instrumental music at Lakewood UCC

Gordon closeup
Last Sunday, Gordon Terrell was featured as saxophone soloist performing “For All We Know” with pianist, Hilton Jones. Gordon has frequently presented special music at Lakewood and his performances are much loved by the congregation.
Gordon & HKJ - Gordon resting
Next week, there will be another selection of special instrumental music featuring Marg Radens on cello and Preston Poe, guitar and vocals. This will be their first appearance at Lakewood. Be sure not to miss it!


Kyrie from Missa de Angelis

This is Hilton, the Music Director at Lakewood UCC. This post is part of a series of posts presenting music representative of what I and others do as part of services at Lakewood UCC.

Featured in this post, is a movement, Kyrie, from a piano suite of mine, Missa de Angelis. For this, and all music listened to on a computer, headphones are recommended.

Composed and performed (1995) by Hilton Kean Jones. The score is available at


Forest Dawn

This is Hilton, the Music Director at Lakewood UCC. Recently, Reverend Wells has asked me to start posting music representative of what I and others do as part of services at Lakewood UCC.

Featured in this post, is the first movement of an orchestral suite of mine, The Forest. For this, and all music listened to on a computer, headphones are recommended.

Composed and performed (2014) by Hilton Kean Jones; synthesizer realization by HKJ. The score will eventually be available at



This is Hilton, the Music Director at Lakewood UCC. Recently, Reverend Wells asked me to start posting some music representative of what I and others do as part of services at Lakewood UCC.

For this first in a series of music posts, I wanted to begin with a piece that was part of a series of piano pieces I wrote for quiet meditations during the service. It’s called Jasmine, and is part of a collection piano pieces called Meditations & Reflections. For this, and all music listened to on a computer, headphones are recommended.

Composed and performed (2014) by Hilton Kean Jones; recorded at the Springs Theater recording studio, Tampa, FL., John Stephan, owner/engineer. The score is available at (PDF).


Meditations & Reflections

MESSAGE FROM HILTON: A couple years ago there were a series of services at Lakewood that began with a moment of reflection during which there was piano music. I wrote music for those meditation times. Those pieces, and other pieces I composed for preludes and offertories at Lakewood, I’m making available to the congregation as a free audio CD. These CDs are just homemade audio CDs that I’m burning by hand on my computer so I’ll only be able to produce a few each week, so if all the CDs are gone when you look, please just put your name on the piece of paper left for that purpose on the back table so I’ll have an idea how many more CDs to burn.


Stan Hunter

Jazz Pianist Stan Hunter: A Celebration


A top collection of Tampa Bay area jazz musicians join pianist Stan Hunter for a memorable night of great jazz. Guests include Patrick Bettison (harmonica), LaRue Nickelson (guitar), Alejandro Arenas (bass) and Joe Bencomo (drums).

GENERAL ADMISSION: $16, $20 day of show. RESERVED: $25


Sounds of the Civil Rights Movement

Sounds of the Civil Rights Movement

The Power of Song
A Kick-off for the Martin Luther King Day of Service and Celebrations
4 p.m. Sunday, January 11, 2015    &    7 p.m. Monday, January 12, 2015
The Palladium Theatre
259 5th Ave N, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
*Tickets available at The Palladium Theatre Box Office
A September Penn Production

Ode to Peace

Ode to Peace (teaser) September 19, 2014


“Ode to Peace”
(Hymne à la Paix)


to Resound Around the World on

International Day of Peace, September 21

A musical message of hope for a troubled world

composed by

Frédéric Chaslin,

performed by the
Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra

NEW YORK, NY, September 15, 2014 – On Sunday September 21, an estimated one billion people around the world will be made aware of-and tens of millions will gather at events to celebrate-the International Day of Peace (a day established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1981). At the same time, a brand new “peace anthem” will be released into-and resound around-the world.
Ode to Peace was recorded in Jerusalem, the City of Peace, on September 7, 2014. Composed and conducted by Frédéric Chaslin, “Ode to Peace” is performed by the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra.

Produced by French-Israeli producer Andre Djaoui in association with Jean Trudel of the Montreal-based Cercle de Paix – Circle of Peace, “Ode to Peace” will be released as “a gift to the world from Jerusalem”, on Peace Day, as part of the peace wave that begins with a moment of silence at noonin every time zone around the world.

“There has never been a better time to release such a message into the world,” says Frédéric Chaslin. “Through the universal language of music-combined with the voices of children-we can deliver a message of peace and hope directly to people’s hearts and souls.”

Ode to Peace” includes a chorus with original lyrics by Djaoui/Trudel to reflect United Nation’s theme for this year’s International Day of Peace-The Right of Peoples to Peace.

“It’s a historic recording made in a holy city,” says Andre Djaoui, “and we are hoping that it will resonate on Peace Day and beyond with people who crave that most basic human right: the right to peace.”

Cercle de Paix, as a representative of Pathways To Peace and partner organizations in the peace community will be combining to give “Ode to Peace” huge visibility in international media, on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and beyond. “This year’s #PeaceDay is already generating unprecedented global participation on social media,” says Jean Trudel. “People are speaking out and sharing messages of peace. ‘Ode to Peace’ is a unique and powerful piece of content that will be enjoyed and shared on every social platform.”

A trailer for “Ode to Peace” will be made available online at onSeptember 19, 2014, to coincide with the official United Nations observance ceremonies.
The trailer will then be released to the world, on multiple channels beginning at noon in all time zones on September 21, 2014. The full video will be released a few weeks later for download.

Kelly Egan,
Pathways To Peace

Soprano Samantha Wassmer performs at Lakewood UCC

Samantha Wassmer

Samantha Wassmer

    Special music this morning was provided by soprano Samantha Wassmer, a student from the studio of Nancy Garma of Tampa. Samantha recently graduated from St. Petersburg High School and will be attending Stanford University in the fall. At this morning’s service she performed Puccini’s Oh! mio babbino caro and Come and Trip It by George Frideric Handel.

Pictures of Lakewood Choir 2014 Pops Concert

 Front row, left to right: Yvonne Riesen, Kim Wells, Adrien Helm, Claire Stiles, Denise Williams Back row, left to right: Jim Andrews, Randy Allen, Jeff Wells, Bill Parsons, Mark Gibson Floor level, extreme left: Priscilla Brodeur, Resident Lifestyle Facilitator, Westminster Suncoast Floor level, seated at piano: Hilton Jones, music director, Lakewood United Church of Christ

Front row, left to right: Yvonne Riesen, Kim Wells, Adrien Helm, Claire Stiles, Denise Williams
Back row, left to right: Jim Andrews, Randy Allen, Jeff Wells, Bill Parsons, Mark Gibson
Floor level, extreme left: Priscilla Brodeur, Resident Lifestyle Facilitator, Westminster Suncoast
Floor level, seated at piano: Hilton Jones, music director, Lakewood United Church of Christ

photos by Melanie Moore

pops concert web graphicLakewood UCC Choir’s 2014 Pops Concert at the Westminster Suncoast Quak Center was a roaring success with, literally (!), standing room only attendance. Many thanks to all who made this program possible. Here’s hoping this will be but the first of many such appearances by the Lakewood UCC Choir.


Pianist Elizaveta Ukrainskaya to Perform at Eckerd College

ElizabetaPianist Elizaveta Ukrainskaya to Perform at Eckerd College on February 26 and at St. Petersburg College on February 27

Russian Heritage presents two concert by Elizaveta Ukrainskaya, an outstanding student of the Special Music School at the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Wednesday evening, February 26 at 7:00 pm in Roberts 104 in the Music Center at Eckerd College (4200 54th Ave. S.). For directions to the Music Center, inquire at the front entrance gate where you will be given a map.

Thursday, February 27 at 12:30 pm in Room HS-117 on SPC Gibbs Campus (6605 5th Avenue North in St. Petersburg, 33710). The Humanities Building is in the center of the campus, and can be reached with a short walk from any of the parking lots. It might be good to try the lots on the north side of 5th Avenue north or on the west side of the campus. Plan to come early.

Admission is free and open to the public at both locations.

Elizaveta was born in 1996 and began her musical education at age 5. In 2011 she entered one of the best musical schools in Russia where she began studying with Liubov Rudova, a Distinguished Artist of the Russian Federation (who is accompanying Elizaveta on this tour). She has frequently performed in St. Petersburg, Russia, Switzerland, Germany, and the Czech Republic. She is a prize-winner at many international competitions, including the first prize for interpretation of Schumann and Chopin at the Third International Chopin Youth Competition. In 2008 and 2009 she was awarded a “Talented Youth” prize in St. Petersburg. In 2012 she won third prize at the Sixth International Competition for Pianists in Serbia. In 2008 she produced a CD to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Chopin.


Pete Seeger, social justice folk singer, dies

from Peter “Pete” Seeger (May 3, 1919 – January 27, 2014) was an American folk singer. A fixture on nationwide radio in the 1940s, he also had a string of hit records during the early 1950s as a member of the Weavers, most notably their recording of Lead Belly’s “Goodnight, Irene”, which topped the charts for 13 weeks in 1950.[1] Members of the Weavers were blacklisted during the McCarthy Era. In the 1960s, he re-emerged on the public scene as a prominent singer of protest music in support of international disarmament, civil rights, counterculture and environmental causes.

As a songwriter, he was the author or co-author of “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” (with Joe Hickerson), “If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song)” (composed with Lee Hays of the Weavers), and “Turn, Turn, Turn!”, which have been recorded by many artists both in and outside the folk revival movement and are still sung throughout the world. “Flowers” was a hit recording for the Kingston Trio (1962); Marlene Dietrich, who recorded it in English, German and French (1962); and Johnny Rivers (1965). “If I Had a Hammer” was a hit for Peter, Paul & Mary (1962) and Trini Lopez (1963), while the Byrds popularized “Turn, Turn, Turn!” in the mid-1960s, as did Judy Collins in 1964 and the Seekers in 1966.

Seeger was one of the folksingers most responsible for popularizing the spiritual “We Shall Overcome” (also recorded by Joan Baez and many other singer-activists) that became the acknowledged anthem of the 1960s American Civil Rights Movement, soon after folk singer and activist Guy Carawan introduced it at the founding meeting of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1960. In the PBS American Masters episode “Pete Seeger: The Power of Song”, Seeger stated it was he who changed the lyric from the traditional “We will overcome” to the more singable “We shall overcome”.


Christmas Eve Service of Lessons and Carols

What wondrous things we now behold!
Christmas Eve Service of Lessons and Carols
Candlelight and Communion
Childcare provided
6:30 p.m. Music of the Season
7:00 p.m. Service

trial of circle nativity tree copy

Lakewood United Church of Christ
Rev. Kim Wells, pastor
We don’t tolerate diversity, we celebrate it!
A Just Peace Church and An Open and Affirming Church
Regular Sunday Service 10:30 a.m.
a professionally staffed nursery is available during services
Church School, Sunday 10:30 a.m.
2601 54th Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33712 — (727) 867-7961


Musicians from the St. Petersburg Conservatory in Russia to perform at Lakewood UCC

Click on picture for a larger image.

Svetlana and VladimirSvetlana Nikonova and Vladimir Zakharevitch — both from the St. Petersburg Conservatory in Russia, and now living in Washington, D. C. — will play at Lakewood UCC during the 10:30 a.m. service, December 8th, 2013.

Svetlana plays the domra and Vladimir plays the bayan. They are world class musicians, not to be missed.


Gabriel Preisser to sing at Lakewood service September 29th

gabriel-preisser-resizedGabriel Preisser, who is singing the part of Mercutio in The St. Petersburg Opera Company‘s production of Charles Gounod’s Romeo & Juliet, Friday, October 4, 2013, 7:30pm, Sunday, October 6, 2:00pm Matinee, and Tuesday, October 8, 7:30pm, will be singing at the Lakewood UCC 10:30am service, Sunday, September 29th.

The following is from the St. Petersburg Opera website:

“Praised for his ‘matinee idol charm and charisma,’ ‘a beautiful, luscious baritone,’ and ‘a compelling, commanding stage presence’ by Opera News, the Star Tribune, the Houston Chronicle, the Pioneer Press, and others, he recently once again received rave reviews for his performance of Lt. Gordon in the world premiere of Kevin Putz’s Pulitzer Prize winning Silent Night with Minnesota Opera.

“Mr. Preisser has been seen in several new works including the title role in Aldridge’s Elmer Gantry, Tom Joad in Gordon’s The Grapes of Wrath, and Riolobo in Catan’s Florencia en el Amazonas, all at the Moores Opera Center, Antonio in Hagen’s New York Stories at Kentucky Opera, John Brooke in Adamo’s Little Women, and the Shoe Salesman/Puppet role in Argento’s Postcard from Morroco, both at Pensacola Opera.

“His wide range of performed repertoire has included Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Danilo in The Merry Widow, the title role in Don Giovanni, Albert in Werther, Schaunard in La Bohème, Papageno in Die Zauberflöte, Prince Ottokar in Der Freischütz, Marullo in Rigoletto, Yamadori in Madame Butterfly, Falke in Die Fledermaus, Larry Foreman in The Cradle will Rock, and Bob Baker in Wonderful Town with such companies as Minnesota Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Pensacola Opera, Kentucky Opera, Skylark Opera, and others

“He was a resident artist at Minnesota Opera, Kentucky Opera, and Pensacola Opera and an apprentice artist at Des Moines Metro Opera. In the competition circuit, he has been honored as a district winner in the Met National Councils and won the American finals of the International Lirico Concorso Competition this past summer. Mr. Preisser graduated summa cum laude from Florida State University with a double major in Vocal Performance and Commercial Music and completed a Masters in Voice at the University of Houston. This will be Gabriel’s first appearance performing on the stage of St. Petersburg Opera Company.”

The role which Mr. Preisser will be performing is Mercutio, who, according to the SPO site, is a “friend of Romeo, and relative of the Prince, who relies on satire and serves as comic relief to the melancholy mood of Romeo. He is responsible for making the young lovers aware of the practical aspects of love.”

For more information on Mr. Preisser and the SPO’s production of Romeo & Juliet and to purchase tickets online go HERE. Group rates are available.