Music at First Unity – December 2021

Join us for First Unity’s special Sunday service music for the month of December, 2021, featuring performances by leading members of the St. Louis musical community. December’s schedule is as follows:


December 5, 2021

Carolbeth True, piano, and Glen Smith, bass guitar

Carolbeth True, piano

Carolbeth True is perhaps the most significant St. Louis jazz pianist of the past 30 years. Ms. True was cited by the Arts and Education Council for “Excellence In The Arts.” She is adjunct music faculty at Webster University and also has an extensive private piano studio. Carolbeth performs with Two Times True with her son Dave on drums; the Carolbeth Trio; the Oikos Ensemble; Wind of the Spirit Praise Band, and is an original cast member of “The Jazz Story”, the first educational program presented by The Sheldon. She has been the pianist with Variety Children’s Theatre for nine years, and the All-State Vocal Jazz Ensemble for seven years.


Glen Smith, bass guitar

Glen Smith is one of the finest bass guitarists in the Midwest. He regularly plays with Carolbeth True. For many years, he has been first-call electric bassist for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra.




December 12, 2021

Marcia Erwin, cello, and Joe Neske, piano

Marcia Erwin, cello

Marcia Erwin is principal cellist at the Fox Theater. She regularly plays for the Bach Society of St. Louis, St. Louis Winter Opera, and Union Avenue Opera. She attended Interlochen Arts Academy where she was principal cellist her senior year. While there she studied with Denis Brott of the Orford String Quartet. Ms. Erwin moved to St Louis to study with Yuan Tung on full scholarship at the St Louis Conservatory of Music. At the Conservatory she participated in master classes with Yo-Yo Ma and Leslie Parnas, and received extensive string quartet coaching by Michael Tree of the Guarneri Quartet.

Ms. Erwin is formerly assistant principal of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra (Illinois Symphony Orchestra) and formerly principal cellist of the Webster University Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Erwin was the cellist of the Laclede Quartet for 19 years. She is currently a member of Opus38 Quartet, and the chamber groups Synergies and Trio Angelique. She also often performs with the St. Louis Municipal Opera, Winter Opera, the Repertory Theater of St. Louis, The Peabody Opera House Orchestra, and with area chamber music/choral groups such as The Masterworks Chorale.

Joe Neske, piano

During his 20+ years as a St. Louis musician, Joe Neske has performed at the Fox, the Rep, the SLSO, the Muny (where he has participated in over 70 productions), and numerous other theatrical and educational venues.

Joe also served as an adjunct professor at Webster University for 19 years, where he accompanied choirs and vocalists, taught classes in counterpoint, choral arranging, and music aesthetics, directed the New Music Ensemble, and provided individual instruction in solo and collaborative piano.


December 19, 2021 Christmas Candle Lighting Service

Deborah Sharn, vocals, and Steve Schenkel, guitar

Deborah Sharn has been singing in St. Louis for many years and is a guest vocalist at various places of worship each Sunday. She is also an actress who has worked with the Black Rep, New Line Theatre, The New Jewish Theatre, and the Mustard Seed Theatre. By day Deborah is the Company Manager for The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis.

Steve Schenkel is the guitarist and orchestra manager for the Fox Theater, guitarist for the Muny Opera and the St. Louis Symphony, and a freelance jazz musician. He recently retired after 37 years at Webster University, where he founded the Jazz Studies program, the Webster Jazz Concert Series, and the Jazz Studies/Music Technology program.


December 26, 2021

Terry Langerak, harp

Terry Langerak is a renowned harpist and recording artist in the St. Louis area. Ms. Langerak serves on the faculty of the University of Missouri St. Louis and Maryville University.

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