Seasonal inspiration

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By Kirsten Laskey

The Easter season inspires a lot of artistic creativity and Los Alamos First United Methodist Church interim choir director James Beinke will unveil April 5 what this holiday influenced him to produce.

On Palm Sunday, an original Easter Cantata will be performed at 11 a.m.

Beinke explained the church offers two types of services – a contemporary worship and a traditional service. During the traditional service, a choir rather than a praise band performs.

The cantata will be featured during the traditional service, he said.

The title of the cantata, a musical composition that uses vocal solos, choruses and instrumental accompaniment, is “Redeemed” and “it is a mix of traditional sounding church music and more contemporary forms. (There’s) a little bit for everybody,” Beinke said.

He co-wrote the cantata with his daughter, who lives in California. Through phone calls and e-mail messages, the father-daughter team created the piece.  “Together we would hammer out the final product,” Beinke said.

This is not the first time they have collaborated. In 2005, Beinke and his daughter wrote a Christmas Cantata for the First Congregational Church in Roscommon, Mich.

Beinke said he wrote the music and his daughter produced the text.

Recently, he called her and asked if she would like to compose another cantata.

Beinke moved to Los Alamos in 2007 and while he is just “filling in” for choir director Sally Kelly, “I directed a choir for 20 years in Racine, Wis.”

He said he enjoys being a part of the music program at the Los Alamos church.

“Los Alamos is filled with excellent musicians,” Bienke said. “It’s just a pleasure to work with such competent people.”

Beinke said he comes from a long-line of musicians. In fact, his grandfather was the real-life Music Man who inspired the musical.

Beinke received a master’s in music education from the University of Wisconsin in Whitewater.

He started his teaching career in Aplington, Iowa, in a small farming community before moving to Racine. There, Beinke directed school band, orchestra and jazz ensembles.

He also tuned and repaired pianos.

At age 47, Beinke said he received a call to the ministry and went to seminary at Trinity Evangelical Infinity School in Deerfield, Ill. He served as pastor in Pennsylvania and Michigan for the next 20 years.

He moved to Los Alamos to be closer to family.