“Christmas at St. Germaine” with CBHE and Mark Schweizer

Charlotte Bronze Handbell Ensemble is pleased to present “Christmas at St. Germaine,” an evening of short stories and Christmas music featuring noted author Mark Schweizer on Sunday, December 6, at 7:00 PM. The evening of music, stories and dessert will be at McGill Baptist Church, 5300 Poplar Tent Road, Concord, NC 28027. Dr. Schweizer has written 13 books featuring the fictional town of St. Germaine, NC and the town’s police chief and Episcopal church choirmaster, Hayden Konig. Come enjoy the funny anecdotes of life in St. Germaine while you feast on Christmas dessert and listen to Christmas selections from the Charlotte Bronze Handbell Ensemble. You never know which characters from St. Germaine may pop in for a visit!

Tickets can be purchased in advance by contacting the Charlotte Bronze Handbell Ensemble’s general manager Ed Tompkins at 704.847.4502 or emailing the group at charlottebronze@elitemail.org.  Preferred “Ring-side” seating is $25 a ticket, while general admission tickets are $20. Proceeds from ticket sales will support Charlotte Bronze Handbell Ensemble.

In addition to enjoying Christmas music played on handbells and handchimes, this is a chance to meet author Mark Schweizer. In 1974, Mark, a brand-new high-school graduate decided to eschew the family architectural business and become an opera singer. Against all prevailing wisdom and despite jokes from his peers such as “What does the music major say after his first job interview?” (answer: You want fries with that?), he enrolled in the Music School at Stetson University. To his father, the rationale was obvious. No math requirement.

Everything happens for a reason, however, and he now lives and works as a musician, composer, author and publisher in Tryon, North Carolina with his lovely wife, Donis. If anyone finds out what he’s up to, he’ll have to go back to work at Mr. Steak. He actually has a bunch of degrees, including a Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Arizona. I know! What were they thinking?

In the field of bad writing, Mark had the distinction of receiving a Dishonorable Mention in the 2006 BULWER-LYTTON FICTION CONTEST, an annual contest in which the entrants compete for the dubious honor of having composed the worst opening sentence to an imaginary novel. In 2007, his sentence now found on page 17 of The Mezzo Wore Mink was runner-up in the Detective Category. This, and two other of his entries, were featured in It Was A Dark and Stormy Night: A Collection of the Worst Fiction Ever Written, edited by Scott Rice and published by The Friday Project.

In varying stages of his career, Mark has waited tables, written articles for Collegehumor.com, won opera competitions, sung oratorios, taught in college music departments, raised pot-bellied pigs and hedgehogs, directed church choirs, sung the bass solo to Beethoven’s 9th with the Atlanta Symphony, hosted a classical music radio show, taught in a seminary, sung recitals, started a regional opera company, published choral music, built a log cabin, written opera librettos, directed stage productions, helped his wife to raise their two children and managed to remain married for thirty-seven years. He also owns several chainsaws.

Well, Donis says, it’s never boring.

Mark Schweizer describes the start of liturgical mystery series as, “In the fall of 2001, I began what I hoped would be a funny little book about an Episcopal choir director/ detective that had a flair for bad writing. Now, fourteen years later, that book, The Alto Wore Tweed, is still getting laughs and the rest of the books (bad writing aside) are winning awards and working hard to catch up. Thanks to you, the Hayden Konig adventures continue to make their way into the hands of mystery lovers and across church choirs, one reader and singer at a time.”


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