By Sally Neel
Special to The PREVIEW
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, this month’s Sunday Night Unplugged will feature lovely lyrical Irish melodies performed on the Celtic harp by local artist Sarah Riehm, this Sunday evening at 5 p.m. This calming meditational service is a monthly offering at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, located at 225 S. Pagosa Blvd.
Sarah and her husband, Chuck Riehm, moved to Pagosa Springs full time in March of 2019, after spending seven years going back and forth from the Dallas area. She has been a church musician all her life, playing piano and pipe organ, directing choirs, and leading praise and worship bands. She started playing harp in high school and college. She recently returned to playing after inheriting her aunt’s harp. Her songs for the evening include traditional and sacred Irish melodies, such as “Londonderry Air (Danny Boy),” “St. Patrick’s Breastplate” and “Be Thou My Vision.”
In addition to her musical talent, Riehm is also an author and award-winning playwright. Her play, “Bibo and Bertie,” about the life of Albert Einstein, was produced recently in Tampa and will be produced in Middletown, N.J., in the 2020-2021 season. “Liberty,” about the wife of American patriot Patrick Henry, won the Southern Playwrights Competition and was produced at the Kennedy Center. It was a recent semifinalist at the O’Neill Competition and is currently in the running as a semifinalist in the Screencraft Competition, one of the top three international screenwriting awards. “Duende,” a play about the artistry of flamenco, recently won the Moondance International Film Festival. “Yellow Rose,” just won a major grant from the city of Dallas and is currently in development.
She writes a daily blog, www.livinghildegard.com, featuring guided meditations based on the life and work of St. Hildegard von Bingen, the 12th century abbess who was a scientist, preacher, author of seven books and also the first known composer.
“We are delighted to welcome Sarah to the wonderful group of musicians who regularly offer their musical gifts to Sunday Night Unplugged,” said Fr. Doug Neel, rector of St. Patrick’s. “We first heard her play at this year’s Heralds of Christmas concert and were thrilled that she has become a permanent part of our community. Her music on the harp will certainly be a blessing to our service of meditation.”
Sunday Night Unplugged is offered free to the public at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, 225 S. Pagosa Blvd. The service begins at 5 p.m. and lasts approximately an hour. It is a wonderful way to stop and meditate, pray, or just sit and enjoy some time of peace. All are welcome.
By Sally Neel